Saturday, July 26, 2014

Super Stuffed Cheddar & Sausage Twice Baked Potatoes

I'm back after a brief hiatus! Wish I could say I was taking a luxurious vacation, but one day smoke started coming out the side of my laptop and it's taken my husband this long to diagnose, find the part, and get it installed.

I've been cooking yummy things this summer! You know that Kelis song, "Milkshakes"? Well, my twice baked potatoes bring all the boys to our backyard.  Truly.  When my husband's friends find out I'm making these, people start inviting themselves over.  When I'm showing off, I make this as a side when we're grilling steaks.  But honestly, this could easily be a main dish.  When we reheat it for leftovers, it is our main dish. And it is just as awesome the next day!  I adapted this from a slightly more fancy Emeril recipe that uses Andouille sausage and white cheddar, but I think my version is better.  Naturally.  

Ready to bring some boys to the yard? 

(forgive my phone picture!!)

8 large baking potatoes (bigger the better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1 stick butter
1 C. sour cream
2 C. sharp cheddar, shredded
Parsley (optional - it's just for color)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash, scrub, and dry the potatoes.  Drizzle potatoes with olive oil.  Season all sides of the potatoes with salt and pepper - don't be skimpy!  Place on baking sheet and bake for about an hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely - you'll be sorry later if you don't!  While the potatoes are baking, slowly caramelize the onions.  In a pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally until onions are browned but not burned, about 10-15 minutes.  Don't rush it by turning the heat up! Remove onions to a plate.  Then brown the Italian sausage and drain.  Once the potatoes are cooled, cut just the top 1/4th of each potato.  Use a spoon to scoop the potato flesh into a bowl.  It's better to leave a little bit of flesh in there - if you get too close to the skin you'll inevitably dig too far and have a hole for the filling to seep out of.  To the bowl with the potato filling, add the onions, sausage, softened butter, sour cream, and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  Add the parsley if you're using it.  Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste.  Scoop that deliciousness into the potato skins, piling it nice and high! Remember, we're making super stuffed potatoes.  Heap the remaining cheddar cheese on top of that. Place back on the baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until potatoes are warmed and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.  Serve hot and enjoy the praise.  

By the way, I really hope you saved the tops of the potatoes! There will be filling left, and while the stuffed potatoes are baking you should reward your hard work by piling some of that leftover filling onto the tops and devouring at least one...maybe two.  If you love your family members, offer them one too. If you don't offer, they'll steal them anyways.