We don't eat them a lot, but I have a soft spot for baked potatoes. This is an unusually glamorous and slightly labour-intensive version from The First Mess. Laura Wright's photos capture waxy white potatoes piled high with bright-orange cauliflower and chickpeas, spattered with spicy hot sauce. Mine don't have quite the same show-stopping qualities, but they're quite the comfort food nonetheless.
We correctly deduced that this recipe is a weekend project, so we set about it on a Sunday and doubled the filling recipe to ensure some leftovers (I've just left it at a single quantity in the recipe below). My pot-full of cauliflower and chickpeas never quite took on the saucy consistency of Wright's, most likely due to the combination of constrained hot sauce and chopped roasted tomatoes I used, and I added some extra tomato paste to try to thicken it all up. It helped a bit.
We loved these hearty carb-boats of spiced stew, but I'm not sure in what context we might make them again. It's all far too effortful for a snack, and yet doesn't quite feel like a balanced main meal. Maybe a big handful of green leaves on the side is enough to call it so.
Buffalo cauliflower-stuffed potatoes
(slightly adapted from a recipe on The First Mess)
6 large potatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 large cauliflower, broken into florets
400g can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
(I used finely-chopped roasted tomatoes, plus 3 tablespoons tomato past and a splash of extra water)
2 tablespoons hot sauce
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat an oven to 180°C.
Wash and dry the potatoes, trim off any weird bits and poke a few holes in them with a fork. Rub a little oil over them and place them in a large baking dish; sprinkle them with salt. Bake the potatoes for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until they're tender in the middle.
While the potatoes are baking, set your largest pot over medium heat. Pour in just enough oil to thinly cover its base, then saute the shallots until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and saute for a further couple of minutes; stir in the paprika and garlic.
Add the cauliflower and chickpeas to the pot; pour over the stock and stir to combine. Add whatever tomato ingredients you're using, plus the hot sauce, and stir some more. Add pepper to taste. Cover with a lid, first bringing it all to the boil, then turning it down to a simmer and cooking until the cauliflower is tender, up to 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are ready and cooled just a bit, slice them in half longways. Arrange them cut-side-up on one or two baking trays. Use a spoon to scoop out a shallow bowl shape in each one (just a tablespoon volume!), and eat the scooped bits. Scratch up the remaining potato a little with a fork. Pile up cauliflower filling into each potato, then bake them until they're just starting to brown on top, about 15 minutes. Scatter with parsley and serve.