When I offer to host a guest, I usually ask them if they have any dinner requests or prompt them to tell me some of their favorite dishes. For Mother’s Day this year, I volunteered to prepare the meal and asked my mum-in-law if there was anything in particular she was craving. She quite simply said “potatoes”, explaining that she hadn’t had potatoes in a long time. Right away I was preoccupied trying to come up with a creative way to present a potato dish. Luckily, she threw me a hint of baked potatoes.
I always believed that twice baked potatoes are fancy versions of mashed potatoes where you go the extra step to make it presentable and creatively tasty. I wanted to create combine the tastes of a fully loaded baked potato with the creaminess of well done mashed potatoes. But the extra twist in this recipe is the inclusion of green vegetables and an extra layer of cheese on top. When I brought these potatoes to the table, my mum-in-law told me that they were beyond her expectations. It was worth the extra effort.
4 large russet potatoes
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into pieces
6 cups chopped broccoli florets
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the broiler. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (enough to cover the broccoli). Meanwhile, pierce each potato several times with a fork, put on a plate, and microwave until tender (approx 10 – 20 minutes). Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, then drain.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon onto paper towels and pour the bacon fat into a bowl. Wipe the skillet briefly with paper towels after it has cooled.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, choosing the direction that will give you a greater width after cutting. Scoop the flesh into a bowl, leaving a 1/2 inch thick shell. Place the shells cut-side down in the previously used skillet and brush with the reserved bacon fat. Heat the skillet on medium until the edges of the potatoes start to turn crisp and slightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mash the potato flesh with the butter and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the broccoli, scallions, bacon and half of the cheddar. Turn the potato shells cut-side up in the skillet. Stuff with the broccoli mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.
Broil until the cheese melts (approx 3 – 4 minutes).