This is my ode to all things devilishly good that we do to potatoes! It marries the cheesy bacon goodness of potato skins with the ingredient loaded baked potato. This recipe is perfect for get togethers such as the football game or a family picnic. It can be eaten piping hot or at room temperature on a buffet. Leftovers are great with a fried egg and some fruit for breakfast.
Like all my recipes, this one leaves much room for your own personal touches. If you would prefer onions or mushrooms instead of peppers then go ahead and substitute. You can leave off the cheese or switch the bacon with diced Canadian ham. This recipe is also grill friendly and can be done solely on a charcoal or gas grill using indirect heat and the same time periods. The serving size of this recipe is 6 - 8 main courses.
· 3lbs. baking potatoes
· Olive oil, for coating
· 2tsp. salt
· 1tsp. fresh ground black pepper
· 1tsp. fresh ground cumin seeds
· 2 whole eggs
· ¼-cup sour cream
· 1-bunch chives, sliced thinly
· 1-bunch scallions, 1½ to 2 cups worth sliced ¼-inch long
· 2-3 garlic cloves, roasted and minced
· 1 poblano pepper, roasted/peeled/seeded
· 2 bell peppers, orange or red, roasted/peeled/seeded[*]
· ½lb. bacon, thick cut preferred
· ¾lb. 4-cheese shredded, or a mixture of queso quesadilla, cheddar, and monetary jack
Preheat your oven to 350°F and, while it is warming up, wash and scrub all your potatoes without removing the skins. Pour a bit of oil into the palms of your hands and rub the potatoes until they are nicely coated. Place them on a baking sheet or directly on the middle rack and let them bake for 45-60 minutes or until the skins look dry and crisp. Remove the potatoes to a plate and allow them to cool to room temperature.
In the meantime, roast, skin, and seed your peppers. Slice them into long, ½-inch strips and place them on a towel.
Also, take this time to roast your garlic. Simply put the cloves in aluminum foil with a little bit of olive oil and place them on indirect heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Pinch the meat of the garlic out of its papers and run your knife over it until you almost form a paste.
Render your bacon until almost crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel to dry out, reserving the oil, and then chop into small bits. Set aside. Once your potatoes are at room temperature, give them a medium dice and set aside with your scallions and two thirds of the chives.
In a big mixing bowl, break in your eggs and mix with your sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin. Add the scallions, chives, and potatoes to the bowl. With your hands, gently combine until the egg mix, potatoes, and scallions are thoroughly mixed. Set this aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
With your oven still at 350°F, grease and season your dutch oven or casserole dish with the reserved bacon fat. Add half the potato mixture to the dutch oven and spread it out evenly to cover the bottom. Using a spiral pattern, or in a casserole dish side by side, lay your pepper strips onto the potatoes from the outside in, alternating between the colors. Make sure you completely cover the potatoes and try not to stack the peppers. Now add the rest of the potatoes and spread evenly covering the peppers entirely.
Place the Dutch oven in the middle of the oven with no lid and bake the potatoes for 40 minutes. Once the potatoes look cooked through, and a little browning shows, sprinkle the cheese generously over the whole top, spreading it evenly. Spread the bacon evenly over the top of the cheese. Place the lid onto the Dutch oven, or place some aluminum foil on top of the casserole dish, and let the mixture cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bacon looks crispy.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, sprinkling the remaining chives across the top, and allow it to cool for ten more minutes. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, or just plain.