Friday, August 17, 2012

Farm Fridays: Mexican Jacket Potatoes

Every week something new appears on the farm or at the farmers market, I declare that this is the best week of the year. I guess it's because the harvest is back-loaded with all my favorite things. I was glad to see it get going in May, and especially thrilled for strawberries, peas and asparagus. Those soon gave way to summer squash, which I also love, and beautiful greens. After that came peaches and tomatoes. Then I couldn't wait for bell peppers. There's always something to look forward to (cauliflower and winter squash are next on my list), but right now things are pretty good. All the summer crops are in their glory, and early fall crops are starting to trickle in. The variety is awesome. Life is good.

Such variety makes it a bit difficult for me to plan my weekly menu - it's hard to know what to start with. I've been opting for recipes that use a little bit of lots of things. This is one of them. I was inspired by my trip to England, where jacket potatoes were often advertised outside lunch shops. I ordered one with a spicy chicken filling one day - it was basically a baked potato split open with spicy chicken salad piled on top. It was a good idea, but I wasn't keen on the mayonnaise-heavy salad and the potato was undercooked. I thought I could do better.

When I designed my jacket potato, I went with a Mexican filling in order to use the red beans that have been languishing in my pantry, as well as some of my bell peppers and shallots (shallots did really well at the farm this summer - we still have a big stockpile in the basement). Though my inspiration for this dish was British, I think I Americanized it a bit. By hollowing out the potatoes slightly, piling on some cheese and finishing them under the broiler, I made them a bit more like potato skins. The end result is about halfway in between, but I'm still calling them jacket potatoes. (When you invent a recipe, you can name it whatever you'd like and I'll be cool with it, ok?)

Mexican Jacket Potatoes

2-3 baked potatoes (we used two and had extra filling, but it also depends on the size of the potato and how far you hollow them out)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 cup red beans, cooked
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 c shredded cheese (I used a Mexican cheese blend)
salsa and Greek yogurt or sour cream to serve

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot and peppers and cook 4-5 minutes, until softened.

Add the beans and spices to the pan and cook until well blended and heated through. Remove skillet from heat.

Slice potatoes in half and hollow each half out slightly (what do you do with the extra potato? I just ate it while I worked). Mound the bean mixture into each hollow and top with shredded cheese. Put the potato halves on a baking sheet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and Greek yogurt or sour cream.

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