Mexican Stuffed Potatoes
If it were up to other members of my household, this dish would get made at least once a week! These stuffed potatoes warm the tummy and the soul, they are easy to make, and they are – surprise, surprise – mostly beige in appearance. In other words, they are a great dish to make for the picky eaters in your home, especially if they have developed a taste for food that packs just a little bit of spice. Nothing crazy here – these potatoes won't make your eyes water and they won't make you want to chug gallons of cold liquids. In fact, the little bit of spice they pack is generally greatly mitigated by the other ingredients, resulting in a balanced meal that tingles your senses just enough without going overboard.
The ingredients are easy enough to find – at least in my corner of the woods. In fact, they are available in every single larger grocery store in the area (think Publix, Kroger, Walmart, etc.) - and I do not live in an area with a large Mexican population. Thus, I would imagine that none of these ingredients pose much of a challenge anywhere else.
Please be aware that the potatoes need to be roasted before you can proceed stuffing them – roasting will take about 50 minutes!
Enough with the praise, though – go ahead and try this recipe yourself. It's a rewarding experience.
2 large Russet Potatoes.
1 Tbs. Olive Oil.
2 Poblano Chile Peppers.
1/3 cup Crema Mexicana.
1/3 cup Queso fresco, crumbled.
4 – 5 Tbs. Oil-Packed Sundried Tomatoes, chopped.
2 Tbs. Cilantro, chopped.
½ tsp. coarse Sea Salt.
3 oz. Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated.
Let's get started:
Place a baking pan or cookie sheet in your oven.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit – with the baking pan/cookie sheet inside.
Slice the potatoes in half – lengthwise.
Brush each cut side of the potato halves with the olive oil.
Place each half, cut side down, on the hot baking pan/cookie sheet, side by side.
Roast the potatoes cut-side down for 20 minutes. (You will later turn them over and roast them for another 30 minutes).
While the potatoes are roasting, it's probably a good idea to tackle some other preparatory steps:
Char the Poblano peppers from all side.
I simply use large metal tongs, grab a Poblano, and hold it over the open flame of my gas stove until they are truly black and charred absolutely everywhere. If you don't have a gas stove top, you can char them with a chef's torch or, if you don't have that either, you can char them on a grill pan on your stove. Lastly, if none of these options work for you, you can char them under your broiler – but if you do so, wait until the potatoes are done – or in a toaster oven!
Once the Poblanos are completely charred, put them in small airtight container with a lid (Tupperware, etc.) for 15 minutes. Doing so will make removal of the charred skin much easier.
By now, your potatoes should have completed the first 20 minutes of roasting!
Thus, turn them over so that the cut sides are now facing up.
Roast for another 30 minutes.
Get back to the peppers while the potatoes are doing their “thing.”
Remove the peppers from the container and slice them in half – lengthwise.
Remove the seeds, stems, and stringy internal parts.
Place each half with the cut side down on your work surface.
Scrape a knife across the charred skin – it should come off rather easily.
Discard the charred skin.
Slice the Poblanos into strips roughly ½ inch wide and then cut them cross-wise so that you essentially end up with roughly chopped Poblanos.
Put the chopped Poblanos in a large work bowl.
With the Poblanos done, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients:
Add the Crema Mexicana to the work bowl.
Add the Queso fresco as well.
Next, add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Add the cilantro.
Add the Sea Salt.
Your potatoes should now be a lovely golden hue.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool until you can comfortably handle them.
Let your oven cool down to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the potatoes are cool enough, use a small knife and perforate the roasted and browned cut-side of each potato half. Make sure you don't puncture the potato skins, though.
Gently cut around the entire periphery just deep enough to make removal of the actual potato “flesh” easy.
With a spoon, scoop out the potato “flesh” and add it to the work bowl with all the other ingredients.
You should now have four hollowed-out potato skins.
Now that all the ingredients are in your work bowl (no, I have not forgotten about the Monterrey Jack cheese – it will top the stuffed potatoes and does not go into the stuffing), mash and mix all of them together.
Taste for salt and adjust seasoning if needed.
Arrange the hollow potato skins on the baking pan/cookie sheet, hollow side up, of course.
Carefully scoop the stuffing into the hollow potato skins. You might have too much stuffing and it is perfectly fine (even desirable) to create mounds of stuffing.
Sprinkle the Monterrey Jack generously atop each of the stuffed potatoes.
Bake the stuffed potatoes for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to brown.