Beefy Potato Volcano
- Yield 6 servings
Top a hearty baked potato with homemade beef stew, made with an assortment of nutrient-rich canned veggies from your pantry.
- 3 large baking potatoes, 10 to 12 ounces each, preferable Idaho, washed and dried
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground turkey or lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 -- (8-ounce) can peas, drained
- 1 -- (8-ounce) can sliced carrots, drained
- 1 -- (8-ounce) can cut green beans, drained
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 -- (15-ounce) can beef or turkey gravy
- Preheat the conventional oven to 450F. Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe, oven-proof glass baking dish, such as a pie plate, that fits in the microwave oven. Microwave the potatoes at full power for 10 minutes (the amount of time it takes to preheat the oven). Transfer the potatoes to the conventional oven and bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Ten to 15 minutes before the potatoes are done baking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and cook until lightly browned, chopping and turning as needed with a spatula so the turkey browns evenly, about 5 minutes. Add the seasoning to the skillet, followed by the peas, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and gravy to make the stew. Stir gently to combine and simmer for 5 minutes. Keep warm.
- To serve: Cut each potato in half across its equator and set each half, cut-side down on a plate so that it looks like a small mountain. Cut a slit in the top of each potato half and squeeze the sides gently forcing some of the potato to “erupt” from the top. Ladle 1 cup of the stew over each potato to resemble flowing lava; serve immediately.
Tip: We know there’s nothing new about microwave-baked potatoes, but the technique in this recipe is a little different and gives much fluffier results. The problem with microwaving baking potatoes is that microwave ovens don’t really bake – they steam – so the potatoes come out damp and dense instead of light and fluffy. You can quickly and easily get the best of both worlds by simultaneously preheating a conventional oven while the potatoes start cooking in a microwave oven. Then, when both the potatoes and the oven are hot, you place the spuds in the conventional oven, and they finish baking in about 20 minutes. The results are identical to oven-baking, but cooked in about half the time.