Twice-Baked Potato Bites

I’ve been a bit of a blog slacker this past week, but I’m hoping to pick things up a bit after tomorrow’s dinner party.  Today’s recipe – Twice-Baked Potato Bites from the June 2008 issue of Everyday Food – is actually a side dish that I’m making for the party.  For the main course, I’m making a stuffed pork loin that cooks at 450F, and I wanted to find something that could cook at the same temperature during the pork’s resting time.  Just to make sure they actually came out of the oven hot after 15 minutes (even after a day in the refrigerator), I made them as a side dish with dinner on Thursday night.

The original recipe serves eight people, and I actually did make the full recipe just to make sure everything would go as planned for the party.  Just cut it in half if you’re cooking for four.

These twice-baked potatoes are “bites” because they’re made with red new potatoes.  I started off by scrubbing and halving 2 pounds of potatoes (about 14 potatoes).  Next, I cut a thin slice off the bottom of each potato so the potatoes would sit flat.  I lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil, placed the potatoes on the baking sheet, and tossed them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  I seasoned with salt and pepper, rearranged the potatoes to sit bottom side down, and baked them at 450F until they were tender and lightly browned (35 minutes).

After the initial baking time, I let the potatoes cool on the baking sheet until I could safely handle them.  Using a measuring spoon, I scooped about 1 teaspoon of flesh from the center of each potato and transferred it to a large bowl.  I added 3/4 cup of reduced-fat sour cream and 1/4 cup of snipped fresh chives, mashed the mixture together, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I stuffed the filling back into the potatoes, arranged them on the baking sheet, covered them with plastic wrap, and stuck them in the refrigerator.

The real test of the recipe was to see if the potato bites would indeed come out hot using the original baking time of 15 minutes, despite spending the night in the refrigerator.  I removed the plastic wrap, baked them (uncovered) for 15 minutes at 450F, and – voila! – they came out piping hot and ready to go.

Twice-Baked Potato Bites

I forgot to add extra scallions as a garnish this time around (I’ll get it right tomorrow!), but I still think they looked and tasted great.  I loved the creaminess and tanginess the sour cream added to the potato mash, and I’m so excited about how easy these were to finish after I had done the initial preparation and stashed them in the refrigerator.  They’re going to be perfect for my party.

TIPS:  Chives can be a bit hard to come by in the grocery store, depending on where you shop.  If they’re available, they’re usually by the fresh herbs in the produce area.  Sunflower Market here in Denver seems to have them pretty consistently.  If you can’t find them, scallion (green onion) tops offer a similar flavor; they’re just much bigger in diameter.

Recipe link: Twice-Baked Potato Bites

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