Thrice Baked Potatoes

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving! Of course it's one of the times I'm most prone to homesickness; I don't think celebrating in 30 degree heat without my mom's turkey will ever stop feeling out of place! But I love the spirit of the holiday so much that introducing its customs to neophytes in this far away land has been ... and still is... a lot of fun.

I have a small  gathering planned for Monday night and we'll be observing the two most important traditions: pumpkin pie, and sharing that for which we feel most grateful this year. Since all my guests are vegetarian and I don't want to spend the whole day in the kitchen, I've re-worked the usual roast dinner menu to feature nods to the classics.

That's where these thrice baked potatoes come in. Baked potatoes just are Thanksgiving-y, and these ones are dressed for a party. They're a bit of a stand-by chez Spring anyway; whenever I have the oven on I pop a few extra potatoes in to bake and keep them in the fridge for when anyone needs a quick and super satisfying snack/side dish at a moment's notice.

Thrice Baked Potatoes

1. Place as many medium sized potatoes as needed straight onto the rack in the centre of your oven and bake at a high heat (200C) for 1-1.5 hours. Err on the side of a longer cooking time because an under-baked potato is a real disappointment! This step can be done several days in advance.

2. When the potatoes are cooled enough to handle, halve each one length-wise. Scoop out the fluffy white insides into a mixing bowl.

3. Put the empty potato skins back in the oven to crisp up while you prepare the filling. This step is especially important if you're using cold leftover baked potatoes from the fridge.

4. To the fluffy white scooped-out potato insides add: 1tbs sour cream, a big pinch of your favourite strong grated cheese, a small pinch of salt and pepper, and a scattering of chopped green onion per potato. Mix and re-fill each potato skin boat with the creamy mixture. Top with extra grated cheese if you wish!

5. Place the filled potatoes under a hot grill for a few minutes (checking frequently to make sure they don't burn) until the cheese is browned and bubbling.

Catherine Roberts