Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Loaded Baked Potato!
Thank you, Lauren, for choosing the name “Snaps” for your new camera and for kindly welcoming me into the Foodie House for this guest post.
There is barely a soul in my bloodline that I can trace to the cooking gene. I’m related to a few good cooks and a handful of good recipes, but nobody loves it like I do. In my family, now and in generations past, time spent preparing food has overwhelmingly been done out of necessity rather than desire.
I come from a household where grocery stores and kitchens are avoided at any chance and the best excuse for a home cooked meal is survival. Microwavable, canned, and frozen shortcuts are often welcomed with open arms, but not nearly as much as ordering out and eating at restaurants. So, where the heck do I come from with my dirty apron and weathered collection of recipes?
I actually learned to love food through these meals; in addition to other things, they played a large role in helping to spark my curiosity for exploring all that food can really be. Still, what beckons this inner desire and allows it to maintain its strength? I must have inherited at least some of my love and ability for cooking from someone.
My grandma and me making potatoes croquettes.
Grandma Tina, my dad’s mom, is the only one I’ve known to be a great, raved about cook in my immediate family. Although she is no longer here, her food is the kind that never fades from the memories of those she’s prepared meals for; they live on, just as her personality, in the stories that are so fondly told of her.
Fried eggplant and sauce, homemade macaroni, lamb roast, and her legendary manicotti are some of the specialties my grandma was known to whip up on the fly. There were no recipes, just pure instinct. She lived in Florida, and we would visit each other as much as we could and she would cook. I was too young to really remember her food, but one of her famous dishes is still made at my house on special occasions: potato croquettes.
Mashed potatoes formed into small logs breaded with seasoned bread crumbs and fried: that’s all there is to a potato croquette, and it is so good. We usually make about two dozen on holidays or when there are a lot of people coming over. They don’t last long. A while back I was watching Paula Deen and she was making something very similar to potato croquettes, except in true Paula Deen-style the potatoes were tricked out with all the fixings of a classic loaded baked potato. I kind of feel like it might have all been a dream now, because I have looked to reference the recipe on several occasions since and I just can’t seem to find it!
Here is my own recipe for loaded baked potato balls. Breaded with panko breadcrumbs, mashed potatoes mixed with butter, sour cream, scallions, and bacon are formed into balls and stuffed with a big chunk of sharp cheddar in the center that oozes out like the “yolk” from a Cadberry Creme Egg when fried. They are the Mini Me of the baked potato and the Americanized version of my grandma’s Italian classic. Enjoy!
Loaded Baked Potato Balls:
Yield: 20-25 balls
- 4 large russet potatoes, cut up and boiled until tender
- 3 strips bacon, diced and cook until slightly crispy (reserve fat)
- ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 pound butter
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Breading: 3 eggs, panko bread crumb, flour
• Mash the boiled potatoes. Add butter, sour cream, and reserved bacon fat while still warm and continue to mash until smooth. Fold in scallions, bacon, salt and pepper.
• Roll potatoes into golf ball sized balls; insert cheddar cubes into the ball and seal with potato.
• To bread the potato balls: roll in flour, dip in egg, and cover in bread crumbs.
• Fry at 325 degrees until golden brown. You want the breading to be crispy on the outside and the cheese to be melted on the inside. You may need to adjust your fryer temperature to achieve this result.
Thank you Marisa! Hope you all enjoyed this snippet from Marisa's plethora of creative endeavors. Make sure to stop by and check out her blog. Her current post is all about making adorable marzipan fruits with step-by-step instructions. Click here to see how to do it!
Love ya, Foodies!
P.s. Remember, today is the last day to vote for this round of Project Food Blog!!!