Spuds are the cheer captains of the food world.
They rally the people, they bind us in familiarity, they make everything better.
Seriously, think about it. Fluffy mashed potatoes can be found at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Creamy potato salad is a staple of picnics and summer celebrations. Caramelized potato skins are found at every Superbowl party. Crisp french fries and chips are meant to be shared year round. And don’t you even forget about vodka (jk). It’s not a party without a potato.
At our anti-Superbowl party (during the first 10 minutes of which we found ourselves watching the game…) these potato skins were the only snack to be completely demolished by the end of the night. Folks just could not get enough! And for good reason…These little vessels take cheese, bacon, AND tater tots into your tummy. That’s right – tater tots. Betcha weren’t expecting that to be in the mix. And your guests won’t either, which is what makes them so special. Give them a try and watch the party begin!
Mrs. W’s Potato Skins(makes 24 skins)
12 medium sized Russet potatoes
Salt & pepper
4 Tablespoons butter, melted (half a stick)
1 package bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled
4oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
24 tater tots, baked per the package directions and slightly cooled
Green onions, finely sliced
Arrange oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400F.
Under cool running water, scrub the potatoes and dry them thoroughly. Rub the outside of the potatoes with olive oil (about 1/4 cup will be enough to lightly coat them all) and place directly on your middle oven rack. Bake for 60 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes bake, cook the bacon. Tip: Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into tiny 1/2 inch pieces before cooking! You’ll be able to cook more bacon at a time, as well as avoid a greasy mess. Remove the bacon bits from the pan as they finish cooking and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat for later.
When the potatoes have finished baking, remove from oven and place on baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes. While they cool, start baking the tater tots as instructed on the package.
While the tater tots bake, halve each potato lengthwise. Working with a few at a time, use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato, being sure to leave about 1/4 inch clinging to the skin. Tip: Save the insides of the potato to make mashed potatoes later!
In a glass measuring cup, combine melted butter with reserved bacon fat. Place hollowed out potatoes face down on a baking sheet and brush with butter/bacon fat mixture. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Depending on which brand you purchased, your tater tots should be finished baking, or close it. If your tater tots still have time remaining on the clock, remove them from the oven and set aside. We’ll come back to them in a few minutes.
Adjust the oven temperature to 450F and bake potato skins for 15 minutes. Remove skins from oven and if necessary, finish baking your tater tots (keep the temp at 450).
Carefully flip each potato skin over so the hollow side is facing upward, and brush the insides with the butter/bacon fat mixture. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. If your tater tots are still baking, wait for them to finish before placing your skins in the oven.
Cool tater tots slightly by transfering to dish or bowl. Set aside.
When the skins have finished baking, remove them from the oven and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Place two tater tots inside each potato skin and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bacon. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with sour cream and finely sliced green onions.