Vegetarian Recipe: Twice-Baked Potatoes

5 May

My potatoes didn't turn out as pretty as the restaurant variety, but they tasted better. With a little practice, I'm sure they'll look just as nice, too.

Stuffed, twice-baked potatoes are among my favorite treats, but the kind you get at restaurants almost always contain bacon, making them a non-option for vegetarian me. I decided to solve this problem by figuring out how to make them myself. Although they are a little time-consuming, they are definitely worth the effort for a special treat.

Olive oil and salt make the potatoes taste like the kind you get at steakhouses.

Start by brushing two big, well-scrubbed baking potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt, wrap them in foil, and bake them at 425 degrees until they are cooked through — usually an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your oven.

(I learned this trick from a foodie friend who says the olive oil and salt make them taste like the baked potatoes you get at steakhouses.)

Scoop out the inside of the potato.

When the potatoes are baked through, let them cool enough to handle, then split them and scoop out the insides, leaving about a quarter-inch layer of potato all around to keep the peels from caving in while you’re trying to work with them.

Put a half-stick of butter, about a cup of sour cream, a handful of finely shredded cheddar cheese, and a hefty sprinkling of either Bacon Salt or cheap bacon bits. (We’re talking off-brand Bac-O’s here — nothing fancy. Just read the label to be sure they don’t contain any animal products if you’re a vegetarian.) Mash the ingredients together with a potato masher until they reach a fairly smooth consistency.

Use a large star tip to pipe the potato mixture back into the shells.

Spoon the mixture into either a decorating bag or a heavy-duty ziplock freezer bag with one corner cut out and a decorating tip dropped in. (I used the largest star tip I had, but you can use whatever makes you happy, as long as the opening is big enough for the potato mixture to pass through without clogging.) Pipe the mashed potato mixture into the empty skins.

♥Chef’s note: The sour cream, butter, and cheese dramatically increase the volume of your mashed potatoes, so your potato skins are going to be really overstuffed. This should in no way be considered a bad thing.

Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees until the tops start to brown (about 30 minutes in my oven, but ovens vary, so start checking after about 20 minutes). Serve with steak, barbecue, or as a main course accompanied by salad or other vegetables.

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One Response to “Vegetarian Recipe: Twice-Baked Potatoes”

  1. Linda May 8, 2010 at 3:12 PM #

    Mmmm. I can almost smell them, Dolly. I always wondered what made the baked potatoes at restaurants taste different. We don’t care for the treatment, but the cheesy potatoes sound good. I am *not* vegetarian, so I will definitely be adding bacon to mine.

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