Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

Alright, you guys… you one guy who’s reading… errrm… anybody? Nobody? Sigh. I secretly knew it all along. I’d just always been in denial. Life is tough.

Ok. I’ll cut the crap. I’ve been busy. Or have I? Work’s been going at a decent pace (though I still think I’m not getting as much done as I should or I could, for that matter). I’ve been cooking good stuff every other weekend or so. I haven’t even been over-socializing. Why haven’t I found the time to update the blog then?

@atlasdanced was visiting one weekend. And he dropped in for a quick hello. The initial plan was a decent dinner at home – he’s always wanted to eat the Chermoula Prawns I’d once made. And I thought I’d make some twice-baked potatoes. And finish off with a quick pasta (by which I mean pasta and a teaspoonful or two of the pesto from the go-to-pesto jar in my refrigerator), in case we still had room for food. Turns out, the plan got cancelled and then re-made and I had a little over an hour before he arrived, no groceries and a reasonable amount of cooking to get done.

Gossip was mainly accomplished over just the prawns. And then, I dropped him off to where another friend was going to see him for dinner, and went over to see @acidmess and @livetimefe – where we enjoyed what we’ve come to call green tea. And I came home with the munchies. Of course. Which is how the twice-baked potatoes happened.

I’ve had the beefy loaded potatoes at Toit. And while they’re pretty tasty, I’ve always thought I could make them at home too. It’s an increasingly annoying habit and I don’t quite know how to overcome it – eating out and then thinking, “Uh, I can do this at home!” *snaps finger in her brain*

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So, here’s how it goes:

Ingredients:
For the potatoes:
10-12 small potatoes(*)
Water, to boil
Salt, to taste
For the stuffing:
1 cup of minced chicken (or any minced meat)
1 small onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Red chilli powder, per taste
Salt, to taste
Oil, to cook
For the garnish:
Mozzarella cheese
Chopped coriander
Chopped black olives
For the dipping sauce:
A half cup yoghurt, beaten well
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon thyme

Method:
1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly (I like mine with the skin on). Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and boil them in some salt water for about 20 minutes. Alternately, you can microwave them or bake them until they are done.
2. In the meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Grind the ginger, garlic and onions to a smooth paste.
3. Heat some oil in a skillet. Cook the onion-ginger-garlic paste for a few minutes, until it begins to brown a little.
4. Add the minced meat, the spice powders and the salt and cook until done.
5. When the potatoes are done, let them cool down, cut them in halves and scoop out the centres.
6. Stuff the centers with the cooked mince meat. Layer with some mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake this for 5-7 minutes at about 150 degrees celsius or until the cheese melts.
8. For the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients together into a smooth paste. Add a smashed garlic or some more mayonnaise, to suit your taste.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander and black olives and serve with the dipping sauce (or eat just as is, you know how it is with the munchies, don’t you?).

Notes:
1. (*) I did not use baby potatoes. I did not use the typical medium-sized potatoes. I just picked up potatoes that were about an inch and a half in diameter, at the supermarket. Why? Baby potatoes are almost to tiny to carve “potato-meat” out of and then stuff. Sure, you could use large potatoes, but I was eating alone and I’m not big on potatoes in general, so I pick the smaller kind.
2. They’re called twice-baked potatoes because, ideally, you’re supposed to bake the potatoes the first time around to cook them. After that, you scoop the inside out, stuff them with a filling of your choice. And then you bake them again, for a few minutes. Ta da!

They kinda look like deviled eggs, don’t they? 😀
And if they taste this good with chicken, I can guarantee you they’re pretty awesome with lamb of beef.

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P.S.: I’d also thrown some olives and pickled onions and capers and dill pickle together with some chilli flakes and fennel, a few drops of olive oil and a bit of garlic. But the guest was never informed of them and that’s not entirely a bad thing. *evil grin*

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