Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rebound Spuds

This being the time of March Madness, the Bat has read up on how to get picture-in-picture, and has set her remote to jump directly from one game to the next. No we don't have a sports fan in this household, no sirree! Not us, no way nu-uh. Nope. Never. No no no no no no well... a bit.

So, in honor of hoops being the least depressing thing on television and, apparently, the center of the President's life (oops, leave politics out of this), we in the house of K present our Friday dish, a variation on twice-baked potatoes, sans skins, bounced out of the oven and sent back in for the score...

Rebound Spuds

7 or 8 medium Russet potatoes, buttered and baked until tender, then cooled enough to handle (makes about 7 cups)

2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp (approx.) butter
1 large sweet onion, diced, divided
1/2 tsp celery salt or Old Bay Seasoning

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated extra sharp cheddar, divided
1 cup finely grated sharp white cheddar, divided

8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced and coarsely chopped
Ground pepper to taste
2-3 Tbs heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 c. milk
(this stage is optional)


Scrub, then dry potatoes. Slice off any discolored spots, pierce several times with fork or sharp knife. Coat with butter, place in hot oven (400-450º F), bake for about an hour, or until spuds are tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool until you can handle them without pain.

While the potatoes are cooling, stir-fry (high temp) the onions in olive oil butter, in a large pan, until they begin to turn golden-brown. Add celery salt. Set aside.

Peel the skins off the potatoes, discard (or, you can save them for...whatever. You won't need them for this recipe, anyway). In a medium bowl, mix the potato innards until well-mashed. Add milk, yogurt, 3/4 cup each of cheeses, and 2 Tbs of the browned onion. Mix very well.

Put in heavily-greased oven-safe dish (1 1/2 or 2-quart casserole works well). Bake at 400º F until completely hot again (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven, sprinkle remainder of cheddar cheeses over the top, return to oven, bake until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly (about 10-15 minutes).

For Gravy:
While waiting for the cheesy topping to brown in the oven, return remaining onions, in saucepan, to high temp on stovetop. Add in the mushrooms and ground pepper, cook until mushrooms begin to brown around the edges. Remove from heat, add heavy cream and milk, stir until smooth. You may also choose to add bits of crisp bacon, finely shredded ham, or other ingredients. Serve in side dish, to ladle onto potatoes as desired.

Note: if you bake the potatoes the night before, you may have to reheat them a little bit in order to work with them. Putting them, covered, in the microwave oven with a little bit of the milk is a good way to get started. On the positive side, if you peel them, then nuke them, you can get them hot enough that most of the mixing will be a piece of cake. If they're colder, potatoes & cheese are reluctant to cooperate with a mixer. You just have to be careful when you handle a hot potato bowl, and when you transfer to the baking dish... we don't encourage people cooking themselves in the process of cooking dinner.

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