Easy recipes for caravanners: Loaded potatoes

By: Lynn Bain, Photography by: Lynn Bain

Load some delicious fillings on to a potato and it becomes a gourmet side dish.

Easy recipes for caravanners: Loaded potatoes
As a side dish (one half of a potato), these easy, microwaved spuds can complement either a meat or seafood main course

As a side dish (one half of a potato), these easy, microwaved spuds can complement either a meat or seafood main course. The ideal potato for these recipes is one with two flattish sides (and therefore two very curved sides). Choose a high starch variety, for example, the commonly available Sebago.

To prep the potatoes, first wash them thoroughly. Pierce the potato’s skin a few times with the tines of a fork to prevent it from splitting during the microwaving process. Place the potatoes in the microwave on some paper towel and cook on high for four minutes. When cooked, the potatoes will be soft to the touch. You may need to microwave the potatoes for a further couple of minutes, depending on their size.

While the potatoes are still warm, cut them in half lengthwise so the potato sits on its flatter side (ie, not on either of the rounded sides because to do so would increase the risk of it rolling over and the toppings falling out). Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the centres leaving a shell consisting of the skin with a thickness of about 12-20mm of potato flesh attached. I leave at least 20mm of flesh attached to the skin if I am not mixing the potato flesh in the filling. This extra thickness allows the diner to get enough potato on their fork that they’ll get a potato taste. Otherwise, you may as well serve the filling in a plastic dish.

You will need to retain a cupful of scooped out potato flesh for the seafood loaded potatoes. I store my remaining potato flesh in the fridge for tomorrow’s mash.

Seafood Loaded Potatoes 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

The following quantities will load four half potatoes.

  • 1 cup potato flesh
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp spreadable cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 green shallot, thinly sliced
  • 100g tin crab meat, well drained
  • 100g tin prawns, well drained
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese

Place the warm, scooped out centres of the potatoes into a bowl and blend with the sour cream, salt and pepper, cream cheese, milk, garlic, mayo and lemon juice. When the mixture is smooth, gently fold the parmesan, green shallot, crab meat and prawns into the potato mixture.

Load the potato shells with the seafood mashed potato, mounding the filling just a little. Then place the loaded potato shells on their flattish bases in a microwave-proof dish.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of each loaded potato and microwave on medium-high for a minute to heat the loaded potatoes through and gently melt the cheese.

Serving options abound – you can serve the spuds as a side dish for a piece of baked fish, or alongside a beef steak for a surf and turf theme.

Spicy Kale Loaded Potatoes

Don’t be alarmed by the amount of kale that is used in this recipe – it wilts down considerably.

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

The following quantities will load four half potatoes.

Handy Hint: You could substitute baby spinach leaves for the kale in this recipe.

  • 250g kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp walnuts, chopped

Shred the kale (no need to do this if you are using baby spinach). Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then stir in the ginger and garlic. When fragrant aromas start lifting from the saucepan, add the green shallots and chilli. Stir fry for a minute, and then add the kale and mix thoroughly.

Cover the saucepan with a lid and steam the leaves for a few minutes until the leaves wilt. Remove the lid and cook for a further minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Load the spicy kale mixture into the potato shells and place the potatoes in a microwave-proof dish.

Sprinkle the tops of the loaded potato shells with the chopped walnuts. Microwave for a minute on medium-high to warm through.

Ragu Loaded Potatoes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

The following quantity will load four half potatoes.

Handy Hint: You can use either beef, lamb, pork or venison mince in this recipe.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g mince
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 bacon rashers, cut into strips (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the mince, onion and garlic to the saucepan and allow the mince to brown, breaking the mince apart with a wooden spoon so that you don’t have lumps of meat in the sauce.

Once browned, add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the mince mixture to cook until the carrots are tender and the ragu has reached a thick consistency.

Spoon the sauce into the potato shells, top with a little parmesan cheese and place the loaded potato shells in a microwave-proof dish. Microwave on medium-high for one minute to warm the loaded potatoes through.   

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The full feature appeared in Caravan World #542 October 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!