Bacon & Provolone Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Before Easter, when I was planning what I would cook over the 4 days as the shops would be closed – Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public holidays in Germany – I dug out a Jamie Oliver recipe for stuffed potatoes with bacon and sage (I had struck out the anchovy in my printout because I hate seafood).  So I tried that to go with a chicken recipe.  It was good, but of course the bacon didn’t get crispy inside the potato;  which I had known beforehand but eating it, it took away some of the joy because I just love crispy bacon.

Then after Easter I was going to make something healthy, with the cottage cheese I had – and still have… – in the fridge.   My internet research came up with a recipe for baked ziti which contained cottage cheese, among lots of other not so healthy things.  But I was hooked.  I was going to make baked ziti with minced beef, cottage cheese, parmesan and provolone.  So off to go food shopping after work.  I’ve never had provolone before, and was looking forward to trying it.  At that point I was actually looking forward to everything but the cottage cheese.

And then suddenly – and thankfully – I came out of this “need unhealthy food now” trance.  I decided right there in the shop that there would be no minced beef nor parmesan.  Just the provolone.  And bacon rashers.  Because I was going to make something more healthy.  Okay, something less unhealthy…

I was going to do my own version of Jamie’s stuffed potatoes, with grated provolone and fried bacon rashers stuffed inside.  And sour cream on top.  Real (low fat) American sour cream, because a very nice friend took me shopping at the Commissary last week.

Bacon & Provolone Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4 medium to large waxy potatoes
olive oil
sea salt
4 bacon rashers
150 g provolone cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC in fan oven).  Fry bacon rashers.  [Don’t let them get too crisp, you don’t want them to crumble completely when you stuff them into the potatoes!]   Cut each rasher in half.

Stick one end of an apple corer, or a peeler, into each potato and twist it round and round as you cut through, as if you were coring an apple.  Keep the cores.  Prick each potato a few times with a fork and rub in a little oil and sea salt.  [I mixed 2 tsp of oil with 2 tsp of sea salt and then rubbed the mix into the potatoes.]

Stuff a little of the grated provolone into each potato, then fold the halved bacon rashers in half lengthwise, stuff into the potato, and add some more provolone.  Cut the kept potato cores into pieces and stuff them back into each potato end to keep the stuffing in place.  [The size of the core pieces really depends on how much stuffing you have inside your potatoes.  I cut each core into 4 and used 2 of those per potato.]  The cores will stick out a little, but that’s fine.

Put on a baking tray and bake for about an hour, turning them every 20 minutes, until crisp, golden and cooked.

These potatoes can be served as a side dish, or by themselves, e.g.  with a dollop of sour cream, herbs of your choice sprinkled on top, and some cherry tomatoes.