Today's post is a two for one! I've got a few side dishes sitting in my drafts folder waiting to be published and I figured I would share two of them today. The first is twice-baked potato cups. I saw these on Bridget's blog and immediately baked them for lunch the same day. That probably had a lot to do with the fact that they incorporated caramelized shallots, and like I said yesterday, my love for caramelized onions (onions, shallots - same difference to me when they're caramelized!) is immense. Since I made these immediately, I worked with what I had on hand, which did not include Havarti cheese. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had Havarti cheese. I subbed cheddar instead and they were delicious! I love that they stand on their own - so cute! Next time I make these I'm thinking maybe I'll add some bacon to the topping along with the shallots - yum!
Twice-Baked Potato Cups
4 12-ounce russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup coarsely grated Havarti cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400 F. Pierce potatoes in several places with fork, then brush lightly with oil. Place potatoes directly on oven rack and bake until tender when pierced with fork, about 55 minutes. Cool potatoes slightly.
Cut off thin slice from both short ends of each potato and discard. Cut each potato crosswise in half; stand each half on its small flat end. Using teaspoon, scoop out cooked potato pulp from each half, leaving 1/3-inch-thick shell and forming potato cup. Place potato cups in 13×9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place potato pulp in medium bowl; add cheese, sour cream, milk, and cayenne. Using potato masher or fork, mash until well blended and almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound mashed potato mixture in potato cups.
Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender and deep brown, about 12 minutes. Top potato cups with shallots. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake potato cups until heated through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
The second side is Ina Garten's caramelized butternut squash. So simple yet so appropriate for this time of year. I think most vegetables are delicious roasted and this one is no exception. I didn't find that the brown sugar made the squash very sweet - it just seemed to help it caramelize. Butternut squash is a bit of a pain to peel and chop but for me, it's so worth it!
Caramelized Butternut Squash
from Ina Garten (via FoodNetwork.com)
2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Serve hot.