When I was in primary school, I went to a cookery demonstration with my parents. The demonstration was organised to raise funds for the school, and like any good school fundraiser there was a raffle. My parents won first pick of the food that was made that evening. My father grabbed the wrong dish, and we ended up with some not-very-crispy potato skins. I wasn’t a fan of potatoes at the best of times, and potato skins definitely weren’t high on my list of things to eat.
Fast forward 20 years and things have changed. I love twice-baked potatoes, and I always make sure I crisp the skins up as much as I can so that I can nibble on them once I’ve eaten the cheesy, buttery filling.
I love recipes that help prevent food waste and this recipe uses leftover baked potatoes to create a simple soup that can be served with loaded crispy potato skins on the side. I’ve gone for bacon, spring onions and cheese here, but feel free to use whatever toppings you like. Sweetcorn is another favourite of mine.
3 large baking potatoes (or leftover baked potatoes)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
4 smoked streaky rashers
3 spring onions
100g cheese, grated
If your potatoes are not already baked, preheat the oven to 190ºc. Prick the potatoes with a fork, rub with oil and salt, and place directly on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 1-1.5 hours until baked all the way through. Let them cool until you can comfortably hold them. If you are using leftover baked potatoes, obviously you can skip this step.
Slice the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Place a wire rack on a baking tray and put the skins on the rack. Set the oven to 190ºc and put the skins in to crisp up as the oven heats.
Melt the butter over a low heat in a pot. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Pour in 800ml of the stock, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Use a stick blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth. Use the remaining stock to thin the soup if necessary.
To finish the potato skins, grill or fry the rashers until crisp. Chop them into tiny, delicious bacon shards. Snip the spring onions into pieces. Remove the skins from the oven, season with pepper (if your bacon is salty you should not need to season with salt) and scatter the bacon and spring onions into each one, reserving some of each to top the soup. Top each skin with the cheese, again keeping some back for the soup. Return the skins to the oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy and filled with bubbly melted cheese. (You can also crisp the skins under the grill if you don’t want to use the oven.)
Ladle the soup into 3 heated bowls and top with the cheese, bacon and spring onions. Serve each bowl of soup with 2 crispy skins.