Stuffed baked potatoes, kumpir, are one of the most common Turkish Street Foods and needless to say I love them. To me one of the best places to eat them was, of course, at my university campus. Frankly, it was nothing special. But we were still kids, having the time of our lives without the slightest worry or fear in our heads! We’d skip classes and have fun at the campus. We were happy, so stuffed baked potato is and always will be a happy food for me!
It is no rocket science to bake potatoes. But some tips and tricks help you to get perfect slightly crisp, tasty, chewy skins and a rich, cheesy, creamy inside and not rubbery skins filled with bland fillings.
Different than American version (if I’m not mistaken), we scoop the flesh after the first bake, but leave them all inside; add butter, salt, and grated cheese; mix them all and then bake for another 3-5 minutes. So this is just the baseline after that choices of stuffing are endless, only sky is your limit!
Perfect Baked Potatoes
1 Russet Potato
1 pat of butter
1/4 cup (or even more) grated mozzarella cheese
salt, to taste
(My choice of stuffing: Beef franks and potato salad)
1- Heat oven to 400F.
2- It is fun and delicious to eat the skin so thoroughly wash and brush the potatoes. Pat dry them completely.
3- Using a fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over so that moisture can escape during cooking- we do not want boiled potatoes we want to crispy-bake them!
4- To achieve crispy, tasty skin brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
5- Never wrap them in foil because again we want to bake them not boil them. Moisture must escape.
6- Put potatoes directly on the oven rack to get perfect circulation for the crispy outside and soft inside.
7- Bake for 1 hour or until skin feels crisp and flesh feels soft.
8- Most potatoes have two relatively flat, blunt sides and two curved sides. Halve the baked potatoes lengthwise so the blunt sides are down once the shells are stuffed, making them much more stable on the plate or on the pan if you are double baking them.
9- With a small spoon scoop the flesh but leave them inside. Add butter, salt and grated mozzarella. Mix them well inside.
10- Put them back to oven for another 3-5 minutes so that butter and cheese melts inside.
11- Remove potatoes from oven and give another quick mix.
12- Rest is up to you but I like to add beef franks and potato salad on top.
Just strech away your cheesy potatoes and happily enjoy!