Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Southwest Loaded Baked Potato

Ahhh the potato. Is there a starch more versatile than this glorious spud? What would a hamburger be without french fries? A summer BBQ without potato salad? A late night snack run to the kitchen without potato chips? Your Thanksgiving feast without mashed potatoes? And it's not just Americans that have perfected recipes highlighting this staple crop. I adore potatoes in perogies, spicy Indian curry, or Spanish tortilla just as much as the recipes I grew up with! When I bought the "on sale" sack of potatoes this week at the grocery store, instead of exploring the variety of international cuisines and cooking techniques that a potato can adopt, I decided to take the spud back to basics. We are making a baked potato!

I am guilty of fake baking potatoes in the microwave. When I'm starving, and not in my right mind, 5 minutes cooking time ALWAYS trumps 60 minutes cooking time. However, my apartment in Spain does not have a microwave. Sure, I could invest in a new appliance, but I like that I'm forced to be a little more resourceful than I am back home in my fully stocked and completely operable kitchen. Here, I am required to do a little more menu planning.

When you give a potato the hour it deserves to bake slowly in an oven, it rewards you for your patience. Its crispy exterior crunches delicately under your fork before opening to reveal a burst of steam and soft, cloud-like, creamy potato flesh. At this point, a little salt and pepper is all you need to make a baked potato sing. I'm giving it some Southwestern flair with a roasted red bell pepper, sauteed onions, an egg, and lots of melty cheese!

This is another infinitely adaptable recipe. You can fill your baked potato with just about anything you have in your fridge, including diced chicken, turkey, or ham. After you've tried my Southwest inspired recipe, tweak your potato filling to make this recipe your own!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a fork, prick the potato a few times on all sides. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil on the outside of your potato and salt and pepper liberally. Bake for 1 hour until a knife inserts easily into the potato. Set potato aside to cool briefly.

While your potato cools, start working on your onion and bell pepper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the diced onion until soft and translucent, 10 minutes. Set aside. Turn your broiler on to high and place the pepper in the oven skin side up. Check its progress often and rotate if needed to achieve an even char on the surface. If you have a gas stove, char the pepper on your burner directly over the flame.


Place pepper in a ziploc bag until cool enough to touch. This will allow steam to accumulate around the bell pepper, making it easier to peel when cool. Peel the skin from the pepper and dice the flesh.

Now, back to the star of the show! Remove a layer from the top of the potato and scrape out the insides. You can either save the inside of the potato or eat them. I almost always eat them! Leave a thin potato layer on the sides when you're hollowing it out.

Now we are to the fun part. Fill your potato with the diced onion and pepper leaving enough space at the top for.....


The egg. Just crack that baby directly into your potato.

Sprinkle some cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the egg white is set and the yolk is soft.

Here is the finished product. Fresh out of the oven, it looks quaint and semi-interesting....

but after you attack the potato with your fork and the soft egg yolk cascades over the melted cheese and roasted vegetables, you know it's time to dive in! I made a little side salad out of my leftover vegetables. Waste not, want not! 

Southwest Loaded Baked Potato

Recipe by Sweet & Savory


1 medium potato
1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper
cheese (the amount you use is up to you!) 


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. With a fork, prick the surface of the potato a few times on all sides. Rub 1 tsp. olive oil on the outside of the potato and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour until a knife inserts easily into the potato. Set aside until cool enough to handle with your hands.

While your potato cools, prepare the onion and bell pepper. Heat the remaining 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until the onion is translucent and soft, 10 minutes. Set aside. Heat your broiler to its highest heat setting. Place the bell pepper half under the broiler skin side up. Check the pepper's progress often, as you may need to rotate it to get an even char on all sides, and remove from oven when skin is charred black. If you have a gas stove, you can also blacken your pepper directly on your stove top over the flame. When the bell pepper skin is charred black, place in a plastic bag until cool enough to touch. Peel off the skin and dice the pepper flesh.

Slice a layer off the top of the potato and hollow the inside out with a spoon, leaving a thin layer on all sides. Fill your potato with the diced onion and bell pepper. Crack the egg on top of the vegetables and sprinkle as much cheese as desired on top. Return potato to the oven for 20 minutes, until the white is set and the yolk is still soft.

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