Twice-Baked Potatoes Mexican-Style

This is what happens when you can’t think of a thing to cook for dinner, don’t really feel like tackling anything fussy or complicated, time is short, and hunger is closing in.  Earlier on the day in question, I had it in my mind to make like this Mexican hash with chorizo and all kinds of fun and interesting ingredients.  But, alas, I was inexplicably unable to gather the required ambition to get it done.  I got out the potatoes and that’s about as far as I got.  

A while later I walked back into the kitchen, saw those potatoes sitting on the counter and decided that baked potatoes sounded like a perfectly lovely dinner.  But wouldn’t a twice-baked potato stuffed with cheese be even better?  But wait, wouldn’t a Mexican stuffed potato be EVEN better??  The answer, my friends, was and still is a resounding YES!  

I don’t know if these were like the best thing we’ve eaten in a while because serendipity sort of took over our meal planning, or because they’re just basically one of the best things we’ve eaten in a while.  Yes, that last one.  

And they couldn’t be easier to put together (or they wouldn’t have happened on the night in question).  You’ll need 1 or 2 potatoes per person, depending on the size of your potatoes and the appetites of your persons.  Also you will need a little ground meat, some onion and sour cream, some black beans, some sliced olives, cheese, and some Mexican seasonings (I used our homemade taco seasoning).  After baking the potatoes, I scooped them out, mashed the potatoes and stirred in all the aforementioned items. Then that all went back into the skins and topped with more cheese.  Those were baked until hot and bubbly and melty.

(There really were 4 halves, but only 3 made it into the photo.  I can't remember why.)

To finish them I spooned some salsa over the melted cheese, sliced some avocados and green onions and then mixed some sour cream and sriracha, thinned with a little milk, and drizzled that over the very top.  Is this what they mean by follow your bliss?

One last thing… There are two ways to go about eating your stuffed potato.  You can cut nice little bites, combining skin and stuffing with each bite, which is sort of OK and a very common approach to eating a twice-baked potato.  Except in my world.  The preferred method is to first scoop out and eat the stuffing and then when that’s gone, pick up the skin and munch away.  There will still be little bits of stuffing in there, and the skin will be a little crispy on the outside because you slathered it with olive oil and salt before baking them.  This is most assuredly the preferred method, but if you want to pick up the whole thing and eat it out of hand, stuffing and all, no one here’s going to judge.  Here’s the recipe…

Mexican Twice-Baked Potatoes

Click here for a printable recipe

You will end up with more stuffing than you can fit into the potatoes, but it's super delicious reheated for lunch, or you can top the leftovers with a fried egg or two and some hot sauce for another easy weeknight meal.  If you have Mexican crema handy, use that to make the sriracha crema instead of the the milk and sour cream.

Serves 2-3

2 large russet potatoes
1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup sliced black olives (or 1 small 4 oz can)

1/4 of a medium onion, diced small
1 (13.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning (here’s my recipe)
2 cups cheddar cheese

Sriracha Crema:

1/3 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons of sriracha (depending on how spicy you'd like it)
2 tablespoons of milk (or enough to make it thin enough to drizzle)

To serve: salsa, avocado, thinly-sliced scallions, sriracha crema

Heat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Scrub the potatoes clean and prick all over with a fork. Rub them all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for an hour.  Allow to cool enough to handle.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Warm a little vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until soft, about 5-10 minutes.  Add the ground meat and taco seasoning and cook until it’s thoroughly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the black beans, and cook until warmed through, another couple of minutes. Remove the pan from heat.

When the potatoes are cooked and have cooled just enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the insides, creating a hollowed-out shell about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the shells in rows on the baking sheet.

Combine the potato insides and the sour cream in a large bowl. Mash until the sour cream is fully incorporated and the potatoes are creamy (add more sour cream for a richer filling). Fold in 1 cup of the cheese and the ground meat mixture.

Divide the mashed potato filling evenly between the potato shells (there will be more stuffing than you need).  Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.

Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the potatoes are soft and melty.  Cool briefly, then top with a little salsa, sliced scallions, sliced avocado and a drizzle of the sriracha crema.