Did anyone else go to TGI Friday’s as a child? It was one of my favourite places to eat out. We’d go for a special occasion and it always felt like such a treat. Anyway if you did ever go to there then you probably remember their loaded potato skins. And that’s what I’m here talking about today. As I’ve found the most fabulous recipe that manages to bring back all those marvellous tastes and flavours of my childhood. Isn’t it remarkable how food can do that, evoke a memory or feeling from the past?
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was looking for a side dish to go with leftover bean chilli for a warming Saturday night dinner. I wanted to stretch one portion of chilli into enough for two people. And I wanted minimum effort alongside maximum deliciousness. I also wanted to try something from one of my new recipe books. After flicking through some books I stumbled across the recipe for me, Smitten Kitchen’s loaded breakfast potato skins. Yes they are in the breakfast section, but that didn’t stop me. They just seemed like the perfect pairing with the bean chilli.
In the book Deb talks about these being the healthier homemade version of TGI Friday’s loaded potato skins and she is exactly right. I should know, I ordered them every time I visited! Which, of course, makes me an excellent judge of the recipe, because it has to meet my very high expectations. And I can confirm that this version from Smitten Kitchen does just that. It is just as good as the taste in my memory. Or maybe better, because they’ve got the warmth of the potato, the gooey melted cheese, salty bacon and then delicious egg too. So good!
Recipe for Smitten Kitchen’s Loaded Potato Skins (serves 2):
I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe, mainly to save time on a weeknight which is when I tend to make these.
2 large baking potatoes / 4 eggs / 4 rashers of streaky bacon / spring onions / sour cream
grated cheese (we went for a very strong cheddar) / melted butter / salt and ground pepper
<> Heat the oven to 200ºC. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave until they are soft in the middle. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes to crisp up the outsides.
<> Cool the potatoes on a rack until you can handle them without burning yourself! Meanwhile cook the bacon until crisp and then chop up.
<> Halve the potatoes and spoon out the flesh in the centre, leaving a little of the potato flesh in the skins.
<> Brush the insides and outsides with melted butter, then sprinkle with the salt. Bake upside down for 5 minutes, turn over, sprinkle cheese in the centre of the potato and bake for a further 5 minutes.
<> Crack an egg into the hollowed out space of each potato half. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and then place back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes to let the egg cook – you want the whites to be firm, but the yolk to stay loose. (I can never time this properly, but fully set baked egg still tastes good). FYI everytime I make these some of the egg white falls out of the potatoes as they just aren’t big enough. But this can still be removed from the pan and served with the potatoes – it still tastes so good.
<> Grind with black pepper, sprinkle with the cheese, bacon and spring onions and then dollop with sour cream.
I do feel like this is a little wasteful with all the potato that doesn’t get eaten. We made croquettes and put them into the freezer, but it’s something to think about and plan for I think. But the egg addition to this dish is an utter revelation. It works perfectly with the rest of the flavours, and adds a little something to the overall texture too.
In all reality I probably didn’t need to have the leftover chilli with the potato skins as the dish by itself just really works. I’ve made it since then without anything extra and it was just as delicious. This dish has become a firm favourite, especially when I’ve got eggs or bacon to use up.