Recipe 1.4: Chili-stuffed Baked Potatoes
This is a great meal to make for three reasons: 1. It’s a great anytime meal, since it is made with ingredients that you usually have on hand. 2. It is filling! Even my husband (with the bottomless pit of a stomach) was full after just 1 big potato. 3. It is delicious! What other reason do you need?
*Please note: The ingredient list and prep instructions are based on the chili mix I used; you might need to modify based on your chili mix.
1 packet of chili mix
4 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. ground meat (I used elk, since I had it on hand)
15 oz. chicken stock
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 beer (optional)
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tbs. kosher salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup green onions, sliced
¼ cup sour cream
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 tbs. olive oil. Add garlic and onion. Let cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add ground meat and brown. Pour chicken stock and tomato sauce into the pot, then add contents of chili mix packet. We like to add a beer to our chili; if you choose to do so, pour it in at this point. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes. I like to let the chili simmer for at least a couple of hours, as it gives the flavors more time to combine and deepen.
1 hour before you are ready to eat, get your potatoes going. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings. Prep potatoes by first poking them with a fork, about 3-4 times to allow moisture to escape. Then, rub each with olive oil, then kosher salt. You want the salt to stick to the skin of the potato. Put potatoes directly in the oven, on a rack positioned above the baking sheet. Allow to cook for about 1 hour, or until the skin feels slightly crisp and the interior is soft (test by sliding a butter knife into the potato – if it goes in easily, your potatoes are finished). Remove potatoes from oven.
Use your fork to create a dotted line down the center of the potato, then push the ends of the potato together to open. Place a potato into a shallow bowl, then ladle chili into the center of the potato. Top with shredded cheese, green onion, and sour cream.
I love to use Charlie’s Chili Mix (I get it at Whole Foods). You can check them out online at charlieschili.com. It’s a family company, based out of Fort Collins, CO. Other than the GREAT flavor of the mix, I love the company’s slogan, which says “If you can find a better chili mix, please buy it!”. Well, I haven’t found a better chili mix than Charlie’s, especially for the price. If you live outside of Colorado, you can purchase the mix online. It costs $12 (including shipping and handling) for 3 boxes. Each box includes 2 packets, and each packet seasons 2 lbs. of meat! That’s $1 per pound of meat (and did I mention that it includes shipping and handling??)!