After pouring my heart and soul into the last post, this one is going to be quick and to the point. Baked potatoes. I’ve never met a baked potato I didn’t like. When we go to the Santa Cruz County Fair every September, and we’re famished after watching cows, goats, pigs, and visiting the poultry barn, the baked potato stand is one of the best dinner options and fuels us for the next leg (the tractor display, followed by the harvest barn and the art exhibits – yes, we have a routine. We’ve been doing this for a while). While a baked potato might not compete with a deep-fried Twinkie or Oreo, it’s loaded with flavor from the cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, and chives. It’s a challenge to eat with a flimsy plastic fork while sitting on a hay bail, but it hits the spot. The baked potato stand also just so happens to be located across from the beer tasting tent, which features a different brewery every night of the fair. Coincidence? If you know us, you know we love beer and a loaded baked potato is a good match for a micro-brew.
As much as we love the traditional toppings for a baked potato (especially the butter), we wanted to go a different route, topping them with crumbled chorizo, cheddar cheese, green onions, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro. Don’t forget about the skin, an often neglected part of the potato that’s good for you. We rubbed our potatoes with olive oil and kosher salt before baking, making the skin crisp, flavorful, and irresistible. A simple salad of red leaf lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, and cilantro was a refreshing counterpoint to our loaded Mexican-style baked potatoes, which we enjoyed with a crisp lager. We hope you’ll enjoy these on a weeknight as we did. Load ‘em up! They’re much easier to eat at your dining room table than on a hay bail.
Some day you just might be able to enjoy a baked potato with a sample of our beer at the fair. Crazier things have happened. Have you heard that my parents, my brother, Dustin and myself are opening a brewery this summer? Crazy, huh. Discretion Brewing. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you really must make these potatoes.
Mexican-Style Baked Potatoes
4 russet potatoes
1/3 lb. Mexian chorizo
cheddar cheese, grated
salsa (we used Roberto’s tomatillo salsa, a local company)
green onions, diced
- Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Poke several holes in them with a fork. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
- Meanwhile, add a little drizzle of olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until cooked through and lightly browned, using a wooden spoon to break it apart.
- Cut a slit on the top of each baked potato and split apart. Fill with the cooked, crumbled chorizo, cheddar cheese, guacamole, salsa, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, and cilantro.
- Dig in. Make you sure you eat the potato skin too. It’s good for you And wash it down with your favorite local beer.