September is here and with it comes football. My favorite thing about football? Tailgating food, of course. Sure, I love a good college football game, but the real treat is the afternoon beer, wings, nachos and potato skins. In honor of Michigan defeating Notre Dame last weekend (hopefully Michigan State will do the same this weekend), I’m posting football-friendly food all week. And I’m kicking it off with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Jalapeno Twice Baked Potatoes.
The nice people over at Ile de France sent me a nice St. Agur Blue Cheese, which was the perfect ingredient for this amazing side. The filling is spicy and smoky, creamy and blue cheese-y, and the skins are crisp and chewy. If you’re making steak, these should be your side dish. And even if you’re not making steak, you should make these anyway. I promise you won’t have any leftovers.
Bacon, Blue Cheese & JalapeÃ±o Twice Baked Potatoes
4 Idaho baking potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup milk (I used skim)
2 tsp. salt
6 slices of peppered bacon (I like Wellshire Farms)
4 oz. St. Agur Blue Cheese (from Ile de France)
Preheat the oven to 400° and coat the potatoes in olive oil. Place them directly on the rack and bake for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender the whole way through.
When the potatoes have about 20 minutes left, put both jalapenos on the rack and roast them for the final 20 minutes, or until they’re soft and the skin is slightly charred. Place the bacon on a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven as well and cook until crisp (about 20 minutes). Let the bacon cool, then crumble it.
Remove the potatoes and jalapenos, but leave the oven on. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop them out of the skin carefully into a bowl, leaving the skin in tact. Reserve the skins. Add the milk, blue cheese, jalapenos and salt. Mash everything together until evenly combined. You can also use an immersion blender here to get the potatoes super creamy. Fold in half of the bacon crumbles.
Spoon the mashed potatoes back into the potato skins and sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are browned.
Makes 6 – 8 servings (depending on how hungry your guests are).