Tag Archives: potatoes

Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes

Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes​

Carbs and cheese are the name of the game this week. Wednesday was all about French Onion Grilled Cheese, and today has Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes written all over it.

This recipe is a comfort food mash-up for the ages. Tender, salt-rubbed baked potatoes overstuffed with a rich pimento cheese filling? Sign me up!

Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes​

If you’re unfamiliar with pimento cheese, it’s a popular southern dip/condiment made of cheddar cheese, sweet pimento peppers, black pepper and mayonnaise. It doesn’t sound great when I lay it out like that, but when combined it’s salty, spicy, creamy, tangy, a little sweet—in short, it’s delightful. And that’s coming from someone who despises mayonnaise and is weird about creamy things, so do with that what you will.

Here, we’re ditching the controversial mayo in favor of potato-friendly cream cheese and butter, combining them with pimento cheese staples like extra sharp cheddar, jarred pimentos and a lot of black pepper. Scoop out the innards of some warm baked potatoes, mash in all those creamy, cheesy ingredients along with garlic and onion powders, load that glorious filling back into the empty potato skins and bake again. Top ‘em off with a little more cheese and maybe some more pimentos, if you’re feeling kicky, then serve them up with the sides of your choice and dig in!

Spicy, cheesy, and filling, Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes make a great vegetarian main (or even a side, depending how hungry you are). They’re extra cheesy with plenty of spice from the pepper and some optional cayenne, and that classic pimento cheese tang from the chopped pimentos. In short, they’re what I’m craving as we head into a snowy weekend here in NYC, and that’s a good thing because I have a lot of leftovers.

Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes​
Pimento Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
makes 4 servings

2 medium-large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste), divided
1 4-ounce jar pimentos
1 8 ounce brick extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided (I used Tillamook)
2 ounces (1/4 brick) full-fat cream cheese (or sour cream)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub and dry potatoes. Prick each several times with a fork. Massage 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt onto each whole potato. Place on prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until I small knife meets no resistance when inserted. Let potatoes cool 7-10 minutes, or until they can be handled.

While potatoes are baking, prepare the filling ingredients. Drain pimentos and blot as dry as possible on paper towels. Remove to a cutting board and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.

Use the large hole side of a box grater to shred cheese. Set aside.

When you can handle the potatoes (they should still be very warm), remove them to a cutting board. Slice them in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving behind the potato skin “boats.” Set the skins aside.

Make the filling. Place potato flesh in a medium mixing bowl. Use a potato masher (or two forks) to break up the large pieces. Add cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and optional cayenne and continue to mash just until combined. Do not over-mash. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in pimentos and 3/4 (6 ounces) of the shredded cheddar. Taste a small bite of filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

Place potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide filling mixture among skins (1/2-2/3 cup each); they will likely be heaping a bit. Bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes at 400F, or until the filling is puffed in places. Top with remaining cheese and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes, just to melt. Add more pimentos if desired. Let potatoes cool a few minutes before serving.

Twice-Baked Potatoes are best eaten the day they are made, but leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, if desired. I’m sure they can also be reheated in a toaster oven or oven, although I have not tried it myself. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

The internet will try to tell you otherwise, but I feel you should know that the absolute best garlicky mashed potatoes are completely free of butter and cream.

Yeah, I’m here to sell you on vegan mashed potatoes. Please don’t leave!

Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

You’ll be missing out on luxurious homemade garlic confit that’s been slow-simmered to rich, fragrant perfection and then mashed into soft russet potatoes. Uh huh. Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes are where it’s at, y’all. Only the best garlicky potato bliss for our Thanksgiving tables, am I right???

You can get a jump start on making your own holiday Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes right now! The confit can be made up to two weeks ahead (yeah, Thanksgiving is only two weeks away). Just simmer it while you’re doing something else and then stick it in the fridge until you need it. Let it come to room temperature and then mash it into these rich, smooth, oh so good potatoes.

You’ll notice that the garlic confit recipe asks for you to peel three heads of garlic, which probably seems insane, but fear not! You can either purchase your garlic already peeled *or* take the DIY easy way out, following one of those hacks you sometimes come across on social media, which is what I did.

I simply separated all the garlic cloves, put them in a covered bowl (I used a thin cutting board as a lid) and shook the living daylights out of the whole contraption for about two minutes, until all the papery skins had at least begun to slip off. Boom, done. After that, it’s just a matter of slicing off the ends before confit-ing, which again, is just simmering at a very low heat. So easy!

One more tip for perfect confit and mashed potatoes: buy fresh olive oil. Besides garlic, olive oil is the primary flavoring agent here, so you want it fresh fresh fresh. If you want to use a less expensive oil here, I’d go with grapeseed, but again, make sure it’s fresh. You don’t want some slightly “off” oil to ruin your potatoes.

Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

I mean, how could you not want these?! They’re the smooth side dish you know, but absolutely bursting with garlic flavor (and not much else)! Beyond their flavor, I love that they are vegan —at such a meat- and dairy-forward meal, I always worry about the vegans at the table having things to eat. And while you can’t subsist on Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes alone, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try, you know?

Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes
makes about 6-8 servings

Garlic Confit:
3 heads garlic
1 cup olive oil

Mashed Potatoes:
3 lbs russet potatoes
cold tap water
1/2-3/4 batch garlic confit
Kosher or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Make the confit. Peel the garlic by separating each head into cloves and putting them in a small mixing bowl. Top it with a lid or another object that will create a seal and shaking it until the papery peels start to remove themselves, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the peels, then trim off the ends and any imperfections on the garlic cloves.

In a small saucepan, combine peeled garlic and olive oil, ensuring all garlic is submerged. Bring the mixture to a simmer over the lowest heat setting on your stove. Let simmer 30 minutes, until cloves are soft, but not browned. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes. You may also make the confit up to two weeks ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Just make sure that the oil is covering all the garlic. Bring confit back to room temperature before using in potatoes.

To make the mashed potatoes, start by scrubbing, drying and peeling the russet potatoes. Cut into 1-inch cubes and place in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with cold water by about 1-inch and season well with salt. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15 minutes, until fork-tender.

While the potatoes are cooking use a fork to mash about half (1/2 cup) of the garlic in the confit.

Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy potato cooking water. Drain potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash with a potato masher (or a ricer if you have one). Add mashed garlic, along with about 3/4 cup of the garlicky oil and 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water. Mash well, adding more cooking water (and/or oil from the confit) as needed to achieve the desired texture. Season to taste with salt.

Serve potatoes with more garlic confit on top, along with a sprinkle of freshly-ground black pepper.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.