Gridiron Grub: Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

As I watch this manic season of the Philadelphia Eagles, I can’t help but feel frustrated. I guess that’s what happens though: some emotions just come standard with football.

Likewise, some foods are standards. Proven through the test of time, they please any crowd that comes along and can just be relied on. For me, one of the greatest examples of this is potato skins.

Every sports bar has them on the menu. They are so decadent with their gooey cheddar, salty bacon and creamy potato that very few people can resist. Here’s my take on potato skins that are just as tasty, but easier to make for a crowd.

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skin Gnocchi

3 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered; dice 1/4 of the peels
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup half-and-half 
4 oz. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1-2 tbsps salt (Use your own judgement. The bacon and cheddar add quite a bit of salinity so  be careful)
black pepper
to taste
1 lb bacon cooked, drained and crumbled
2 tbsp dried chives

To make the gnocchi steam your potatoes and peels over boiling water, covered, for 15 minutes. Move them to a large bowl and mash. After they cool slightly, gently mix in your eggs, half-and-half, bacon, cheese, chives and salt. If you are of the veggie persuasion or just don’t like bacon (is that even possible?) you can always omit it here and sprinkle some hickory smoked salt on before serving.

Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. A lot of this is tough to gauge so if the dough seems too sticky, it probably is. Add more flour.

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces.

Flour a surface, roll each piece into a one-inch rope. Flatten the dough slightly with the gentle pressure from a fork and cut into 18-24 individual pieces of gnocchi. Transfer gnocchi to sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover with a towel. Toss them in a fridge until you’re ready to cook.

For all types of gnocchi I bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the gnocchi, cooking for 1 minute or two. If I want to freeze any for future use, I take them out at this time to cool and package later. Otherwise, I let them cook for another 2-3 min until they’re tender.

When people are over I usually make a brown butter sauce, mix everything together and serve in a shallow bowl with toothpicks on the side. They cool rather quickly but before you know it, the gnocchi vanishes. (Just like that 4th quarter lead…)

(Photo: Enrico Matteucci)

More Bacon: Recipes, raves and other bacon bits in Endless Bacon.

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