Twice Baked Potato Casserole
For as long as I can remember, my favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table were of two varieties: potatoes and bread. Yes, carbs all the way. Well rounded? Not at all. But, it was what I liked best. I could have passed on everything else and filled my plate with only those two things. Potatoes of almost any variety were welcome – mashed, cheesy, au gratin…all so very good. Even though I have grown to appreciate much more of the Thanksgiving spread, potatoes and rolls are still my favorite part of the meal.
I was first introduced to twice-baked potatoes through Ben’s family when we started dating. His mom made them quite often, especially once she knew how much I loved them. However, I could totally pass on the potato skin. I know lots of people enjoy eating the potato skin but I really do not. So to me, the idea of making just the filling of twice-baked potatoes with no skins to get in the way is genius. I wish I had thought of it myself, and sooner! We absolutely love this slightly different spin on an old favorite. It’s totally worthy of a spot your Thanksgiving table!
Yield: about 8 servings
5-6 russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½-2/3 cup milk
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
3 green onions, chopped
3-4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
Peel the potatoes. Chop into large chunks. Place the chopped potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Continue to cook uncovered until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-18 minutes. Drain well.
Return the potatoes to the warm pot. Add in the butter, milk, sour cream, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, adding more milk a small splash at a time as needed. Avoid over-beating.* Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Reserve a small portion of the cheese. Fold in the remaining cheese, green onions and bacon until evenly incorporated.
Transfer the potato mixture to a buttered baking dish. Top with reserved cheese. Bake at 350˚ F for 15-20 minutes, until completely warmed through and cheese is melted. Garnish with additional green onions and bacon, if desired. Serve immediately.
*I’ve heard many times that potatoes can become gummy when mixed with an electric mixer. This is the only way I’ve ever done it and I’ve never encountered that issue. Even so, I try to mix only as long as is necessary to achieve the smooth texture that I prefer.