Thu Nov 17, 2016
I'll wager a good bet that come next Friday, you'll have a whole mess of turkey leftovers you need to find something to do with. I personally can usually only handle reheated plain turkey once—let's face it, it's never as good reheated and there are only so many sub-standard meals I can willing prepare for myself. That leaves me finding ways to reuse those leftovers in forms that are more exciting and delicious, such as in sandwiches, salads, and the like. While it wasn't a Thanksgiving bird, I did find myself with a generous amount of leftover Texas-style smoked turkey a few weeks ago, and I really don't think I could have put it to better use than in these smoked turkey stuffed potato skins.
My first inclination for that turkey was actually as a topper for baked potatoes, but then I remember this potato skin procedure I picked up from Cooks Illustrated that makes spuds that are far superior to ones that are solely baked. The one fallback here is that the potatoes do need to be roasted throughout before transforming them into skins, a process that can take up to an hour, which is easily an entire batch of charcoal.
So to speed things up and get the skins to the finish line utilizing just a single chimney of lit coals, I employed the microwave to give the potatoes a head start on cooking. This began with pricking the potatoes all over with a fork, then nuking them on high for eight minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Fully microwave-cooked potatoes don't get that desirable dried out, brittle skin though, so to achieve that, I finished up the cook on the grill. With these partially cooked spuds, it only took 20 minutes for them to roast through completely—I tested doneness by seeing if a paring knife slid through the entire flesh with no resistance.
Once done, I split each potato and let cool just enough to handle. Then I scooped out the center of each half with a spoon, leaving about half an inch of flesh remaining intact. Next I brushed each potato all over with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper before placing them back on the grill, over indirect heat, and covering. I let the skins cook this time until until they began to brown and crisp, which took about 7 minutes.
While they were cooking, I took out my leftover turkey and diced it up in preparation for stuffing.
I then piled a heaping helping of turkey into the bowl of each spud and squeezed on some barbecue sauce followed by a generous sprinkling of sharp cheddar cheese.
After all were stuffed, I covered the grill again and let the potato skins cook until the cheese was completely melted and started to bubble a bit around the edges.
To finish the skins off, I gave each another squeeze of barbecue sauce, a bit of sour cream, and some scallions. It had been a while since I last made potato skins with this method and forgot how amazingly awesome they are. One of my guests mentioned that these are how you always wish potato skins tasted in the restaurant—crisp and buttery with enough flesh to give them substantialness as well. The perfect vessel was made even better with the moist, smokey turkey along with the barbecue sauce, cheese, and sour cream combo that worked together in harmony to give the potato skins a great flavor. I may still go back and do the turkey stuffed baked potatoes I originally had in mind, but I'll bet when I do, I'll just wish I had made these skins again.
Smoked Turkey Stuffed Potato Skins
- Prep Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 40 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 50 Minutes
- 4 to 6 servings
- 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 lb smoked turkey, roughly diced
- 1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup finely sliced fresh scallions
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave potatoes on high for 4 minutes. Flip potatoes over and microwave on high for an additional 4 minutes.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place potatoes on cool side of grill close to, but not over, the coals. Cover and cook potatoes until a paring knife glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from grill, slice each in half lengthwise. and let cool.
- When potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out and discard the flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch layer of potato flesh on the inside of each skin. Brush the potatoes all over with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place potatoes back on cool side of grill, cover, and let cook until light golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.
- Fill each potato with turkey, drizzle with barbecue sauce, and top with cheese. Cover and continue to cook until the cheese is fully melted, about 5 minutes more. Remove from grill and let cool for 5 minutes. Top with additional barbecue sauce, sour cream, and scallions. Serve immediately.