Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bacon, Blue, and Spring Onion Twice Baked Potatoes

Is there a savory foods combo that pairs better, and with more versatility, than bacon and blue cheese? It's a delicious flavor combination on everything from pizza to salads to potato soup. The salty-crispy bacon, and pungent, funky blue cheese in the recipe definitely adds a wallop of flavor to the otherwise mild and creamy potato. It's an easy-peasy recipe, and can even be made in advance and frozen for super-simple future dinners. 

There are many, many types of blue cheese out there, though I think most people associate the closely with just a few types. There's Gorgonzola, the funky italian blue commonly seen adorning salads with thick, dark, sweet vinaigrettes, Roquefort, the mineral-y french classic, cave aged in giant wheels, and Maytag Blue, the milder, soft american version. There are in fact, many many types of blue cheese, and I have yet to try one I didn't like.
 I'm a big fan of domestic cheese, but wanted to branch out from Maytag today, so I went with Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen Blue. Made up in Vermont, it's about as local as a blue cheese gets in Manhattan. It has a lighter, nuttier taste, but is definitely not lacking in the funkiness blue cheese in known for. 

My childhood involved a lot of baked potatoes.  Usually served along side a piece of grilled chicken or steak, and maybe some corn on the cob. That's a fine midwestern summer dinner right there. 

Spring onions in springtime- there's nothing better than vegetables in their prime season.

Since this recipe relies heavily on the bacon and blue cheese to flavor it you will not regret it if you pick up some especially good bacon. My Whole Foods recently started smoking their own meat and rolled out a few new bacons- this one is the double smoked. It was heavenly, the rind fries up almost like chicharron.

Fresh from the oven and piping hot, like the ones Ma would slip into the girls pockets in the winter in Little House in the Big Woods. 

Potato boats awaiting their delicious filling.

The sour cream and the butter take the potato flesh to this very creamy, velvety level.

Mmmm, melty cheese, crispy bacon, soft sweet spring onions, lush, creamy potato. 

Bacon, Blue, and Spring Onion Twice Baked Potatoes
This Recipe serves two, but you could easily double everything to serve four. 

2 Russet Potatoes
5 Strips Bacon
1/4 C Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/4 C Sour Cream
1/4 C Milk
2 Tbsp Butter
5 Spring Onions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the russets. Using a fork, poke holes all over the potatoes, about 8 times each. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

While the potatoes cook, place bacon in a cool skillet and heat to medium-low, fry bacon until crispy, remove, let cool, and crumble. 
Chop the white and light green sections of the spring onion finely, set aside.

When the potatoes are cooked through (they should give a bit if pressed with the back of a fork), remove from oven (but leave the oven on!), and cut them as evenly in half (the long way) as possible. Scoop out the potato flesh from the halves, leaving a 1/4" thick porder of potato around the edges. 

Place the scooped out flesh in a bowl, along with the butter, milk, and sour cream, and mix until butter is melted and ingredients are well integrated. Set aside a small amount of bacon and blue cheese to top the potatoes with, and mix the rest of the bacon, blue cheese, and all of the spring onions into the potato mixture. 

Place mixture back into potatoes (it's ok if it heaps out the top a bit), top with the reserved blue cheese and bacon, and put back in the oven for 10-15 Minutes, until the cheese topping is melted. 

Serve immediately. 

On Freezing: 
If you wish, you can stop after refilling the skins with the potato-topping mixture, place the potatoes in a freezer safe tupperware or bag, and freeze them for future use. When you want to use one, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, let the potato thaw a bit, then bake about 30 Minutes, until heated through and cheese is melty. 

S wanted to use goat cheese instead of blue, so that is definitely an option, though probably much milder.
 You could swap the spring onion for any manner of chive, or for ramps, or lightly caramelized leeks or onions. 
This recipe can work as a base for any manner of twice baked potatoes- cheddar broccoli, ham and swiss, queso and peppers, etc. 


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  2. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! it's very creative. I like experiments too so I decided to do this in my air fryer. And it was really good. By the way I recommend to all my friends to own one, visit this website http://bestairfryer.reviews/ and find your favourite.