This week marks ten years that I’ve been an (official) part of my husband’s family. I’ve been around for baby showers, births, Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, graduations, bridal showers, weddings, and birthdays. I’ve been there for St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas. I have attended many more gatherings, formal and informal, for something meaningful, or something mundane.
Food is a central part of all of these gatherings. No matter who’s hosting, who’s attending, or the purpose of the shindig, the food should be two things: plentiful, and tasty. As the hostess, it can be difficult to plan sufficient food for parties, for a number of reasons. Weather, illness, and scheduling conflicts, among other things, can make getting a final head count difficult.
Recipes that can easily be scaled up or down are a big help. Recipes that can be prepped ahead and frozen until the day of the party are great for easing that last-minute time crunch. And recipes that are tasty are a necessity.
This recipe fits the bill on all accounts. It frequently appears at meals where a crowd is present. Everyone seems to enjoy these, young and old alike. And what’s not to like? These are creamy, tangy, and delicious. Make a batch for your family – it’s easier and faster than you’d think.
What you need:
- 6 large potatoes
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 t. salt
- 1/8 t. pepper
- butter or margarine (to taste)
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top (optional)
- vegetable scrubber, table fork
- paring knife, table spoon
- medium bowl
- potato masher or stand mixer
- baking sheet
- airtight containers (to freeze)
Time: Twenty minutes prep (divided), 90-120 minutes baking (divided).
Freezeable: Yes. Follow the instructions through the filling of the potato shells, and then freeze. The potatoes can be placed directly in the oven from the freezer, no thawing necessary.
Serves: 8-12, depending on the size of the potatoes and the appetite of your family.
Multiplying the recipe: This recipe is very easy to scale up.
Bake the potatoes. (Scrub, rinse, prick all over with a fork, and put in a 400F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.)
Allow the potatoes to cool enough so that they can be handled, but they are still hot. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the inside of the potato halves out with a spoon. Place the potato flesh in a bowl. (You can also cut an oval out of the tops of the potatoes and scoop out the flesh. This makes for a much larger finished potato, and lowers the yield on the recipe. For our family, I prefer to halve them because I get twice as many potatoes, and most people end up cutting a chunk off the potato if you make them larger, anyway.)
Mash the potato with the sour cream, egg, salt, pepper, and butter. I use a stand mixer. Scoop the filling back into the shells. (You can use a pastry bag, but I just use a spoon. I’m not trying to be Martha Stewart here.) If desired, make a decorative pattern in the potato filling with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. (The flavor does not overpower, and it seems to help the potatoes develop more browning once baked.)
To freeze: Place potatoes on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen, then stack in a container or place in a freezer bag. (They can also be packed in a container in single layers.)
To serve: Remove from the freezer, place on a baking sheet, and bake in a 400F oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.