At the beginning of the month our church had a picnic that include a small cooking competition. Just for fun Luke and I entered in the “potato side dish” category. We had a date-night-at-home experimenting with the potato base and different sauces. Luke worked on perfecting the base while I tried out different sauces. I’ve never been a huge baked-potato fan but with the ratio of potato to toppings equalized I think I’ve been converted.
The competition was informal and fun. We were pretty excited to get first place! Here is our prize-winning recipe, exactly how we made it. We love our cast iron pan but if you don’t have one a wok would probably be the next best thing.
You will need a pan with a lid, 2 large baking potatoes, olive oil or butter, salt, pepper, chili powder, a sweet onion, sharp cheddar cheese (yellow or white), and parmesan cheese. Disclaimer: We didn’t really measure things out, just went by taste so adjust according to your preference.
- Dice the onion into large chunks and start caramelizing them.
- Set a cast-iron pan to pre-heat to medium-high on the stove top.
- Scrub and dice the potatoes into 1″ cubes (we left the peal on).
- Rinse and pat dry the potato cubes (helps them keep their shape).
- Add a couple Tablespoons oil/butter and the potatoes into the cast iron pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. You want the potatoes to be evenly covered but not coated. Probably about 1.5 – 2 tsp of chili powder.
- Cover with a lid and cook for about 1/2 hr., or until fork-tender on the inside and “toasted” looking on the outside. Toss them about every 5 minutes to make sure the sides cook evenly.
- Take off the heat and stir in the caramelized onion, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and about 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese. If the cheese doesn’t fully melt, return to heat and stir a bit until it is evenly coating the potatoes and onion.
- Keep in the warm pan until ready with the sauce and toppings.
We made this Sour Cream Garlic-Chives Sauce with a few tweaks. You will only need half a recipe (about 1 cup) for the amount of potatoes above. Tweaks: I used 3 cloves of garlic, added in a couple more Tbsp of chives, and 2 tsp of diced rosemary to make the flavor more bold and interesting.
We put about 1/2 cup of the base in individual size ramekins, poured on 2 Tbsp of sauce, and then garnished with some cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon pieces for color. Serve immediately.
The idea for cooking the potatoes this way came from a breakfast dish we’ve made for a while. We make it just like the base using 1/2″ diced potatoes, caramelized onion, cheese, chives, and eggs. Cook the potatoes like above, add in the onion, cheese, chives, and 2 eggs per each cup of potatoes in the last few minutes and stir around until the eggs are cooked.