Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chili Stuffed Potatoes

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Sundays are much anticipated in our house. Even better is when our beloved Chicago Bears are playing! It's the time of week when we stay in our pajamas all day and we pretty much lounge around relaxing as much as possible. I usually plan on some kind of game day eats when there's a game on and these Chili Stuffed Potatoes were perfect as either an appetizer or even as a main dish. Baked potatoes are split open and filled with a smattering of our favorite garnishes like chili, sour cream, cheese & green onions. They're a healthier version of traditional fried potato skins with all the flavor without the added fat and calories...

Often times, potatoes are seen as a side dish... but they make a great main dish too. I've grown to love baked potatoes more since going gluten free and with so many ways to top/fill them, there's never a shortage of ideas. One of my favorite baked potato toppings/fillings is a good chili. I used the Vegetarian Chili from Cook's Illustrated and adapted it by using ground beef. The spice combination was spot on and not too hot or spicy. As for the potatoes, they came out crisp on the outside and fluffy soft on the inside. Feel free to garnish as you wish and serve either as an appetizer or main dish.

Chili Stuffed Potatoes
chili recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipes

2 tablespoons olive (or vegetable) oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds lean ground beef (85/15)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt

6 large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Garnishes: butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions


For the Chili:
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil. When it begins to simmer, add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, and spices; sauté until softened. Transfer mixture to crockpot.

In the same large skillet over medium high heat, add crumble in the ground beef and brown. Transfer browned ground beef to crockpot.

Add the tomatoes, beans, and salt to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.


For the Potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and scrub the potatoes well. Dry thoroughly and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt; toss to coat.

Place potatoes directly on oven rack and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Split the potatoes into half and top with garnishes {first with a little butter, a heaping spoonful, dollop of sour cream, sprinkling of shredded cheese and a garnish of green onions.

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