This post brought to you by The Kansas Pork Association. All recipes and opinions remain my own.
It is probably surprising to exactly nobody that my sons love bacon to the moon and back. They’re boys. And their mine. And me? I love bacon to the moon and back, too. It should be equally obvious that when the Kansas Pork Association contacted me and asked whether I’d be willing to make a bacon related recipe and tell you all about their “Your Bacon Starts Here” efforts, I gave a big old yes almost before they were done telling me about it.
After learning a little more about the Kansas Pork Association and the families who form it, I am so glad I said yes for a completely different reason. Getting to know the people who raise the food for our country is so important. They’re spending their lives working so we can eat; God bless ’em! I especially loved watching the video of the Springer Family Farm in Wilson, Kansas where their sons are involved in the daily care and operation of the farm. Thank you so much, Springer Family, for raising one of my family’s favourite foods and for showing us what you do!
Who’s up for some bacon? Silly question, right? BACON!
What goes better with bacon than more bacon? And cheese? The answer is bacon, more bacon, cheese, and potatoes. These aren’t just any potato skins, though…
They start with leftover baked potatoes (maybe you made a massive batch of these? Or this?) that have been chilled. It is kind of important to chill them, because they hold onto the bacon fat with which you’re going to brush them generously. Yes. Bacon fat. Why? It reinforces the bacon-y goodness of this recipe and helps make the potato skins crispy and flavourful. One bonus of using bacon fat here is that it’s pre-seasoned so we don’t even have to salt the potatoes before baking. Into the oven they go until they start browning beautifully. They pop out of the oven just long enough for you to raise the temperature a bit, pile them high with grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and chopped bacon then return to the heat. You can stop where I stopped in those pictures above.
…Or you can go one step further like I usually do and put them back in the oven until the melted bits of cheese on the pan turn into bacon fat flavoured, crispy, salty, cheese crackers.
I like to throw a bunch of thinly sliced green onions over the top, but that’s only popular with 4/7 of the people I’m feeding, so some get the onions, and some don’t. Ooooh, mama. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to how quickly these disappear when they’re on the table? I will fight you for that last bacon cheese cracker. In a loving way, but seriously? Don’t get between me and my bacon cheese cracker.
- ¾ pound (12 ounces) of bacon, preferably thick cut
- 5 leftover baked large russet potatoes (or 10 small ones)
- 1 pound grated cheddar cheese
- 2-3 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Fry the bacon according to package directions until it is mostly crisp but not overcooked or dark. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool slightly. When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly.
- Line a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Brush it generously with some of the rendered bacon fat.
- Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece in half cross-wise*, yielding four pieces out of each potato. *If using the small potatoes, just cut in half lengthwise.
- With a spoon, scoop most of the 'guts' from each potato, leaving a shell of potato that is about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick all the way around. Brush the entire shell with bacon fat and place each potato shell on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potato skin is crisp and the bacon fat is bubbling on top of the potato shell. The potato shell should be starting to brown in places.
- Distribute the grated cheese and chopped bacon evenly over the potato shells. Raise the temperature to 425°F and return the pan to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to lightly brown in places. Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 2 minutes before transferring to a serving tray. If desired, sprinkle with the thinly sliced green onions before serving.
Is anyone interested in winning a year’s supply of bacon?
(And I hear a resounding ‘DUH!’ reverberating through the internet.) It’s so easy! Just hop on over to the Kansas Pork Association’s facebook page and upload an original photo demonstrating your devotion to all things bacon for a chance to win a year’s supply of Farmland Foods bacon. Thank you Kansas Bacon Farmers!
And thank you Kansas Pork Association!
Good luck, folks! I hope you win the bacon of your dreams!