Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces bacon (8 slices), chopped fine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or scallions
1/2 cup sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Thoroughly prick the potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes. Carefully transfer the potatoes to the oven and cook until a skewer glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a papertowel-lined plate.

Slice the hot potatoes in half lengthwise and cool for 5 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch later of potato on the inside of each skin.

Brush the potatoes inside and out with melted butter. Season the insides of the skins with salt and pepper. Arrange the potato skins, scooped side facing up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are light golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the potato skins evenly with the crisp bacon and the cheddar and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and add dollops of sour cream before serving.

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