Fall has finally taken its damp sorry rear and gotten out of the way here in Iowa. The winter chill has set in and holidays and indoor get-togethers are among us. Warm weather parties have two elements: #1- taking in the great outdoors and #2- enjoying good food. People tend to eat a little less when it is muggy and hot outside so nailing the food aspect of your party isn’t as critical then as it is in the wintertime, when people are huddled up in your kitchen around the only thing that matters, (besides each other’s company) –a spread of great food and drinks.
My favorite parties to attend offer up a variety of appetizers and small bites, much like a game-day appetizer spread. When a large meal is served up, there’s a tremendous amount of timing and forethought that happens. When there is a snack-centric party with lots of dips, snack foods and small bites, it doesn’t matter if your Bacon Wrapped Crab Stuffed Shrimp needs a few more minutes to bake, food is set out in flights with items being enjoyed and cleared away for the next round.
I love to host snack-inspired gatherings and I consider how many people will be there, allergies and preferences before making a menu (or if it’s potluck style, I just tell people to bring what they like then at least there will be one thing for them to enjoy!). Make-ahead-bake-later recipes are top of mind, as well as finger-foods and items that don’t require a plate, steak knife and fork.
Obviously when I can incorporate two pork products in one recipe, I’m going to! And these little pop-able bites are like miniature twice-baked potatoes. They could absolutely be served alongside a juicy Iowa Pork Chop or Ribeye Steak, or they can be enjoyed on game day as part of a larger appetizer spread!
Iowa Pork’s YouTube video they created for this recipe:
For more tasty pork recipes, check out all of Iowa Pork’s scrumptious food videos here.
Ham and Bacon Potato Poppers
by: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
Makes 3 dozen poppers
18 golf ball sized yellow baby potatoes
2 TBSP butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 pound thick sliced deli ham, approx. 3-4 large slices, chopped to 1/4″ square pieces
6 green onions, chopped, green and light green parts only, divided
1 1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese (bonus points if you buy a block and grate your own)
1/2 lb. thick cut bacon, cooked, crumbled
Cut potatoes in half widthwise.
Cut rounded bottoms off of potatoes so they are flat and sit on a sheet pan evenly. Brush all potato halves with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool until warm. With a melon scoop, core out the center of the potato, leaving a sturdy portion at the bottom to support the filling that will be placed into the potato later.
Combine all cored out pieces of potato into a mixing bowl. Add butter, sour cream, milk, seasoned salt and ground black pepper. Mash together. Add ham and half of the green onions.
Scoop a heaping portion of the mixture into each potato vessel. Top with colby jack cheese and bacon crumbles. Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
Garnish with remaining chopped green onion tops. Serve warm.
*Make ahead version: Assemble poppers completely, omit baking step and green onion garnish. Cover poppers with plastic wrap and place reserved green onion tops in a baggie refrigerate (1-2 days max). When ready to bake preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted. Garnish with remaining green onion tops. Serve warm.