If I ate a baked potato every time I wanted one, I would eat them a lot.
Impatience is usually the culprit behind the lack of baked potatoes because who has time to roast one properly? I don’t. I’m also the worst meal planner
of all time. Maybe someday that will change. Until then, I much prefer choosing what to eat on a whim, fully catering to what I’m feeling right at the moment. Sometimes that’s good [hello Sen Yai Noodles, I'm looking at you] and sometimes it’s a pain. That’s when I end up mindlessly throwing together whatever I can find in the pantry [like the time I boiled some pasta and tried to make a pseudo-carbonara which really turned into some weird gummy noodles and scrambled egg and red chile flakes which was...gross].
You can microwave a potato to get the same baked-potatoesque qualities [guilty as charged], but it’s really not the same. The skin usually ends up leathery and the innards a little dry.
Taking the time to bathe the skin in olive oil and sea salt, wrap them in foil, and slow roast them in an oven or on the grill makes such a difference that they really shouldn’t be allowed be called the same thing. The flesh is so steamed and fluffy, the skin so tender and salty. It’s pretty much an experience and a half.
I wanted the potato to be the star of the show when I finally decided I would take the time to make one, so loading it up seemed like the only real option to do the potato justice. So load it up, I did. Pork and fajita vegetables aren’t exactly a common occurrence, but it seemed to make sense. Realistically I just wanted the potato and guacamole, the rest was just an excuse. We happened to have a little queso fresco on hand to go with the Mexican-inspired potato, so I highly suggest getting some if you can. That salty, creamy cheese melts like butter into that potato flesh.
I’m going to try and not wait so long before having my next baked potato, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
- 2 russet potatoes
- 1/2lb ground pork
- 1 red [or any color] bell pepper, seeds and white flesh removed, cut into strips
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced into strips about the same as the pepper
- olive oil
- sea salt
- red pepper flakes
- queso fresco, shredded
Preheat your oven or the grill to about 400°. Scrub the potatoes under fresh cool water. Stab the potato all over with a knife. Cover the potatoes in a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Wrap them in aluminum foil. Place in the oven or on the grill. Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of the potato. The flesh should be easily pierced by a fork or butter knife.
When the potatoes are nearly done, brown the ground pork. Use a skillet on about medium heat and sprinkle the pork with the red pepper flakes. Once the pork is cooked through, remove from the pan. Leave the grease in there and add the onions and peppers. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, really letting the onions darken and get soft. The vegetables will soak up the pork grease like a champ. Return the pork to the pan. Stir to combine.
When the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat source and allow them to cool a bit so you can actually touch the aluminum foil to take it off. Slice the potato with a butter knife to open. Scoop the fajita filling into the opening. Top with shredded queso fresco and guacamole. Serve.