Twice Baked Bacon Potatoes

Twice Baked Bacon Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • Coarse sea or kosher salt, for smothering the potatoes

  • 4 large russet potatoes (each about 1 pound)

  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter (or 2 tablespoons if using the bacon fat)

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds discarded, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup shredded cheese (such as cheddar, Gruyère, pepper Jack, or fontina, or an assortment)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives

  • 6 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

Directions:

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread a thick layer of salt on a large plate.
2. Scrub the potatoes well under running water. While they are still wet, pierce them in multiple spots with a fork or knife to enable them to vent steam as they bake. Cake each damp potato all over with salt, forming a white-speckled blanket. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake them until tender, about 1 hour. If you wish, you may place a cookie sheet on the rack below if you have a fear that the salt will fall off—but it really won’t.
3. As the potatoes bake, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter foams, stir-fry the onion and garlic until they become light brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the pepper softens, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter or the fat saved from the cooked bacon.
4. Once the potatoes are done, transfer them to a cutting board and allow them to cool enough so you can handle them. Leave the oven on if you will be serving the potatoes soon. Slice off a ¼-inch-thick slice from the top along the length of each potato. (They’re for nibbling—the cook’s bonus as you finish the dish!) With a teaspoon, scoop out as much of the tender insides as you can without boring a hole through the potato, and set them aside in a medium-size bowl. (I usually leave a ¼-inch-thick layer of potatoes around the inside wall to avoid any possibility of leaks.) As you handle the potatoes, you will experience some of the salt crust falling apart on the board. Just save some of it for later inclusion.
5. Working in batches if necessary, place all the scooped-out whites in a ricer and push them through and back into the same bowl. (If you don’t have a ricer, use a potato masher and fluff them with a fork when completely mashed.) Scrape the pepper-onion medley over the fluffy potatoes and pour in the cream and buttermilk. Add about 1½ teaspoons of salt and the cheese, chives, and bacon, and fold it all until just mixed.
6. Spoon as much of the filling as you possibly can into each potato shell. (You will, in all likelihood, have filling left over. Do yourself a favor and save it for later! See Tater Tip for some ideas.) At this point you can refrigerate the potatoes, covered, and bake them in a day or two.
7. When you are about ready to serve the potatoes, make sure the oven is preheated to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the stuffed potatoes on it. Bake them until some of the filling oozes out onto the sides and the top is speckled brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
8. Slice each in half and serve hot.

Leave a Comment