I’m amazed it’s taken me this long to post something of the baked potato persuasion but I’m happy to finally get around to it. A well-dressed baked potato is probably one of the least expensive ways to have a hearty meal with minimal clean up and the possibilities are endless. You have your standard sour cream and chive, bacon and cheddar, chili and cheese, and so on and so forth. But you know me: why stop at the usual when you can have something a little bit better? That’s how I decided to throw this particular dish together, and I must say it’s a good one.
There’s cheese in it, of course. I keep waiting for someone to get me some help but you’re either all amused by this addiction or there just is no hope for me. Anyway, when my mom was up here a couple of weekends ago, she and I headed to a couple of different grocery stores and I scored a small wedge of Gruyere among other things (gotta love it when Mom spoils you!), but I had exercised restraint and had not opened it until now. I absolutely adore this cheese; I love its nuttiness and how it complements most meats, particularly cured ones like ham and bacon. As much as I enjoy the latter two, I wanted to depart from the norm for this recipe and make more of a meal out of my potato, using some well-seasoned chicken instead. I’d originally thought of using a fun green vegetable but a recent jaunt to the farmer’s market led me to some beautiful white mushrooms and I thought the flavor combo in a delicate wine sauce would be just lovely. Like most of my recipes this one is really easy to make and completely satisfying. Don’t let the fancy cheese scare you either; if you shop wisely, buy just a small amount (not much is needed for this recipe), then shred your own cheese, you can still partake in something other than cheddar (which I do adore, I just get bored easily) or, God forbid, Cheez Whiz.
If you want to save some time by microwaving your potatoes instead of baking them, feel free to do so. However, I highly recommend taking the time to actually throw these in the oven and exercise a little patience because it is well worth it. I find that rubbing some salt on the outside of the potato adds a little something extra to the flavor, but if you’re watching your sodium intake you should definitely omit this step. Need more veggies? Serve this with a salad and you’re set. Now for the recipe.
Baked Potatoes with Chicken, Mushrooms & Gruyere (serves 2; Total Cost per potato: ~ $2.75)
2 medium russet potatoes
1 T + 1/2 T olive oil
Couple pinches of salt
2-3 chicken thighs (or breasts, whichever you prefer), cubed
6-7 large mushrooms, sliced (about 1/2 c)
2 T butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t garlic salt, divided
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t thyme
1/8 c white wine
1/4 c shredded Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse & scrub the potatoes well and pat dry. Pierce several times with a fork (this allows the potato to vent some of the steam from baking). Rub each potato with the 1/2 T of olive oil and sprinkle a couple pinches of salt. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until potatoes are nice & tender when pierced with a knife or fork.
Gently rinse mushrooms and pat dry. Slice and set aside in a bowl. Heat 1 T olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add chicken and half of the garlic salt and cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink on the inside. In a separate pan or skillet, melt the butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and remaining spices and sautee until the mushrooms just begin to soften. Add the chicken to the mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 more minutes, adding the wine at the very end.
When potatoes are done baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes before handling. Carefully slice the potatoes lengthwise and mash the inside lightly with a fork. Spoon a few tablespoons of the chicken, mushrooms, and sauce onto the potatoes, then sprinkle some shredded Gruyere on top. Put the potatoes back into the oven for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts, serve with a nice salad, and enjoy!