Cowgirl Twice Baked Potatoes

Twenty years a vegetarian, until I moved to Texas...

And I've been making up for lost time. Micklethwait, Franklin's, Terry Blacks, Saltlick, Lambert's, Stiles Switch, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, la Barbecue, Valentina's Tex-Mex and good old Rudy's, among others, all just a few miles from my house. Whenever we indulge, we like to order a little extra either to use immediately in the following week's lunches, or for a make ahead freezer meal, like the following. Cowgirl twice baked potatoes, the perfect way to enjoy a little barbecue, without over indulging.

Inspired by this tasty looking shepherds pie twice baked potatoes from The Candid Appetite, and enhanced with my new found love of brisket, and combined with an irrational fear of ground beef. Hamburger in a restaurant? Yes. Buy fancy ground beef from Central Market to cook my own hamburger? URP, no. A by-product of the 1990's e. coli scares, surely. Also one of the reasons I quit eating meat. Extra silly considering all the salmonella, listeria, etc., outbreaks floating around a variety of produce, ice cream, even peanut butter, <bites into hastily rinsed apple> yum. So silly.

Yield: 8 potato halves, 6 smart points per half


4 medium russet potatoes
1 turnip 5 oz, peeled and diced, 1 cm
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large celery stalk, 1/2 cm slices
3/4 red bell pepper, 1 cm diced
2 green onions, 1/2 cm sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs flour
1 cup beef broth
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz lean smoked brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbs butter
1/2 c low fat butter milk

1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Prick potatoes with fork, rub skins wth a dab of the olive oil and sprinkle a teeny bit of the salt and pepper over each potato. Bake on the rack for 45-60 minutes, until fork tender.

2. Steam turnips until soft, about 5 minutes. Turn of heat and keep covered.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions, celery, and red pepper. Cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Add garlic to pan. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

5. Stir in tomato paste.

6. Sprinkle with flour, and cook until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.

7. Slowly pour in broth, scraping up any browned bits. Things will look quite soupy here, no worries.

8. Add bay leaf, corn and brisket. Stir to combine, and simmer until thick and stew like, 2-4 minutes.

9. Turn off heat, cover and set aside.

10. Back to the potatoes. The key to delicious, silky potatoes is that steamed turnip. A Wilson family secret, only passed on after five years of marriage. I can't blame my mother in law, here I am, blabbing on the internet. I'm not a huge fan of turnips, but that little bit of turnip somehow enhances the mashed potato texture and flavor. You can use WAY less butter and milk and still create wonderful mashed potatoes.

11. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 9"x13" baker with Pam. Scoop out your potatoes, and put the insides into a food mill. Place potato skins in the baking dish.

12. With any luck, your potatoes and turnips are still very warm. Add steamed turnips and half of the butter to the food mill, and process into an empty bowl. This takes a few minutes, but its worth it. The butter melts into the potatoes, and keeps everything light and fluffy.

13. Add in buttermilk a tablespoon at a time, using a fork to combine. Each batch of potatoes will require different amounts of butter and milk. If the potatoes taste too dry, and a little more butter and buttermilk. Keep in mind, you want them fairly thick to pipe onto the potatoes.

14. Spoon filling into each potato half.

15. Pipe mashed potatoes on each half, then bake until potatoes are lightly browned, 20-30 minutes.

16. Serve hot. To make ahead, cool, freeze, then wrap in foil and parchment. Place frozen, wrapped potatoes in freezer bags. To reheat, thaw in fridge overnight, then Heat in oven at 350℉ for 20-25 minutes.


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