Twice Baked Potatoes

November 24, 2010

Twice baked, double stuffed, loaded, filled or jacket potatoes can be both rustic and elegant fare depending on the finish. Only imagination limits the outcome. For other cheeses, consider cheddars, goats, emmenthal, manchego, brie, tallegio, asiago, fontina, mozzarella, bleus. Toppings are likewise endless, including lardons, varied herbs, hams, mushrooms, curries, even caviar.

Baking an extra spud will ensure that each finished potato is stuffed to the brim.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES

2 medium to large russet potatoes, rinsed, scrubbed and dried

1 1/2 C gruyère cheese, grated and divided
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
4 T unsalted butter
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of white pepper

3 T chopped fresh chives

Preheat to 400 F

Pierce potatoes in several spots with fork. Place directly on oven rack and bake until tender but not dried out, about 45-55 minutes. Set aside and cool about 10 minutes, but handle the potatoes with oven mitts as they will still be hot. Using a serrated knife, cut potatoes in two, lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp, carefully leaving the skin intact as a shell. Transfer potato flesh to large bowl and mash well until smooth. Mix in half of the gruyère cheese, cream, butter, and half of the chives. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and white pepper.

Evenly divide potato mixture among the shells. Strew the remaining cheese on top of each potato. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until filling is heated through and tops have browned, about 20 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with fresh chives and then serve.

Pourboire: Should you desire some flair, only fill the potato shells two thirds of the the way. Then, using a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe in the remainder of the potato mixture.

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