(Permit me a moment of apology for these photographs. I know they aren’t pretty. I know they don’t give a tasty dish its due. I was rushing and brown potatoes are hard to photograph. Also, it’s still dark at dinner time in these parts. I thought about trashing them but I love these potatoes too much to keep them from you.)
Have you heard the term “Hallmark holiday”? If you have not, it refers to the holidays that aren’t really holidays in the technical sense of the word, i.e. you still go to work, the mailman comes, and the banks are open. But some people feel compelled on those days to shop for and send a card. I’m talking about Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day, Arbor Day – you know. I’m thinking there is a new term. It’s “food bloggers holiday”. These include the Superbowl, Back to School Day, Peanut Butter Day – you name it. I think there is a special food for every day of the year and if you search for it, some food blogger somewhere has cooked something for it.
I am not that food blogger. I would not say this is the blog that you come to for holiday food ideas, real or Hallmark. I’m not the person who has a perfect Valentine’s Day cake baked a week ahead of Valentine’s Day. Usually, I’m just not that organized. I certainly appreciate the people who are.
If left to my own devices, I would probably have made this for St. Patrick’s Day on St. Patrick’s Day, and then posted about it days afterward suggesting it might be a good thing to make for next St. Patrick’s Day. That’s kind of how I roll. As it turns out, I will be out of town on St. Patrick’s Day and while I was thinking “phew! I don’t have to wear green this year!”, I also started thinking about this dish and poof! dinner was born.
I have been eating baked potatoes for dinner since I was in my teens and first had a spud stuffed with vegetables and topped with cheese at a favorite, and now defunct, restaurant in Sun Valley. I’ve done lots of combinations over the years but this is a bit dressed up and by far the best. You cook thinly sliced onions until they are soft, then add bits of Guiness to make them even softer and browner, then you throw in some kale and cook the mixture until it wilts down. Once the potatoes are cooked, you mash their innards with some butter, buttermilk, and mustard powder, then fold in the onions and kale. Top the whole thing with some Cheddar cheese, bake until the cheese is melted, and you have a light entrée or hearty side. I found this recipe in The Farm to Table Cookbook, one of my very favorite books by the very talented Ivy Manning. I have included multiple recipes inspired by that lovely book on this site and I highly recommend it to anyone living in the Northwest or farther afield.
One Year Ago: Chocolate Espresso White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Two Years Ago: Honey Nut Squares
Three Years Ago: Butternut Squash and Apple Galette
Twice-Baked Irish Potaotes with Stout Onions and Kale
Adapted from The Farm to Table Cookbook
4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 cup Irish-style stout
12 leaves dinosaur kale
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
½ tsp. mustard powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Rub the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until they squish easily when gently squeeze, 45 minutes to an hour.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, then add the onions and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add a splash of the stout and scrape up any browned bits. Continue to cook, occasionally deglazing the pan with the stout, until the onions are deep brown and all the stout is used, about another 25 minutes.
Tear the rough ribs and stems away from the kale and discard. Roughly chop the leaves and add to the onion, tossing with tongs to wilt the leaves. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is very tender, about 10 minutes. Pour in a little water or a little stout if needed.
Carefully slice each potato in half. Use a soup spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell on the bottom and sides. Mash the flesh with the buttermilk, better, and mustard powder. Gently fold in the onion-kale mixture and season with salt and pepper. Mound the mixture into the potato shells, sprinkle the tops with cheese, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes, and serve warm.