Sunday dinners at my house are usually for trying something new: a delicious-sounding but perhaps slightly complicated recipe; experimentation with my slow cooker; or using a new technique or exotic ingredient. Sometimes, though, when the week before was or the one to come promises to be long and stressful, good old-fashioned comfort food is on the menu.
My husband is spending the next week studying for a test; one of those career-changing things that requires all of his attention. Knowing that I wouldn’t get him out of his study for a sit-down dinner, I turned to The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook for a dish with simple, hearty flavors that would help us end the weekend with a good meal.
I decided on Cheesy Stuffed Potato Skins With Broccoli. It has all my comfort food prerequisites: Bacon? Check. Cheese? Check. Enough healthy stuff to assuage some of my guilt? Check. To help with the latter, I modified the recipe just a dash by adding more fresh veggies.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 6 medium baking potatoes
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 head broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces (I also added cauliflower and kale)
- 1/3 cup warm milk
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Makes 12 potato skins.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes, then wrap in foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until tender.
While the potatoes are baking, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp and then remove to drain. I placed the bacon on a paper towel–lined plate.
Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon drippings and sauté until golden brown. Remove the onions from the heat and put them into a large bowl.
Steam the broccoli (and other veggies, if you’re using) for 3 to 5 minutes until tender crisp (broccoli and cauliflower) or otherwise cooked through. If you are using kale or another leafy vegetable such as spinach, don’t add it until the last couple of minutes of steaming, to avoid wilting.
Chop the vegetables into small pieces. Crumble the bacon into small pieces.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, take off the foil, and cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and place one-half of it into the bowl with the onion. Save the rest for another meal.
Add the milk and pepper and mash. I used my stand mixer, which mashed the potatoes while mixing with the onions.
Mix in the pepper jack cheese and 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese. Add the chopped vegetables and bacon and stir to combine.
Brush the potato skins with melted butter and place on a cookie sheet. Spoon the potato-veggie-cheese mixture into the potato skins.
Bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes to warm. Remove the sheet from the oven. Set the oven to broil. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and broil for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Because you can’t have what is essentially bar food without beer (at least in my house—root beer works, too!), we paired the skins with a spring pale ale.
The final verdict? I will definitely make these again. I can’t help but think that they’ll be a huge hit come football season!
Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed.