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Chili-Cheese Potato Armadillos


  • 1 slice good quality Pullman white bread, sliced thick

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot brand

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (a palmfu)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (half a palmful)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic (1/3 palmful)

  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese (a couple handfuls)

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a handful)

  • 4 large red potatoes, cleaned

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling

  • Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Pulse-grind the bread in a food processor to form soft crumbs. Place the oven rack in middle of your oven. Scatter the crumbs on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until a light golden color. Raise the heat on the oven to 450°F. Cool the breadcrumbs in a bowl and melt the butter. Toss the crumbs with the butter, hot sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and cheeses. Cover a cooled baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim a thin slice off of the bottom of each potato, giving it stability. Next, trim the ends, and then thinly slice each potato all the way across, but do not cut all the way through – stop a quarter-inch shy of the bottom. The slices should be approximately 1/8-inch thick (but no more than a quarter-inch thick). Gently fan each potato and rinse them to wash away any starchy juice. Turn the potatoes cut-side down on a microwave-safe dish and cook on high in the microwave for 10 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool for about 5 minutes, then set them cut-side up on a baking sheet, leaving lots of room around each potato. Coat the potatoes with liberal drizzles of EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and gently stuff the chili-cheese mixture into the ridges of the potatoes. Switch the oven to broil to heat the broiler. Broil the potatoes in the middle of the oven for about 3-5 minutes, or until deep brown and bubbly.