Day 6: Baked Potatoes – Darwin style
Darwin is a regular inspiration for me when it comes to food and there are several dishes I seek out during every visit. One of those is paw paw salad – a Thai dish made up of grated paw paw, crushed peanuts, chilli and fish sauce (and maybe a few other things I can’t distinguish). It tastes like nothing I have ever eaten before and I haven’t yet found it ‘down south’.
I also have never found a laksa in Victoria as good as the ones you get at the markets in Darwin.
I haven’t successfully recreated either of the above dishes. I have spent hours making laksa and have never mastered the balance of flavours.
However, my other staple Darwin dish is baked potatoes from the Potato Man cart at the Mindle Beach Markets
My mum has always been a great lover of these too and so even when we lived in Darwin, mum and I would make them regularly at home.
Now I know you can get baked potatoes with all the trimmings everywhere you go – but there is a big difference. Most places you go to use cold salsa rather than hot bolognese sauce. The difference in sauce makes a huge different to the overall flavour. The cheese never starts to melt with cold salsa and I just don’t think it’s anywhere near as nice.
Give the Darwin-style potatoes a go – I promise they’ll be something the whole family will love.
Baked Potatoes – Darwin Style
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees (celcius)
- 4 Large potatoes, with skin on (use a variety ideal for baking like desiree, nadine, colban or serbago)
- Olive oil
- salt and pepper
Score each potato a few times on the top using a knife, and pop in the microwave on high for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of the potato)
You want them to cook until they are becoming soft on the inside – check this by inserting a knife. If they are still hard, increase the cooking time a little longer.
Once the potatoes are done, lie four squares of aluminium foil on your bench and pop one potato in the centre of each square. Drizzle each with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Wrap in the foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, make the sauce.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 rashers of bacon, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 500gm of minced beef
- 1 tsp of dried oregano (or similar Italian-style seasoning)
- I glass of white wine
- 2 400gm cans of chopped tomatoes
In a heavy based pan on a medium heat, cook the bacon with a little olive oil until it becomes slightly crispy. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt. After 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the mince and break it up using a wooden spoon. Add the oregano (or similar) and cook until the meat has browned (about 10 minutes).
Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
Now for the toppings!!!!
Now there are four other things that I have to have on my potato, other then bologese sauce.
- Grated tasty cheese
- Sour cream
- Coleslaw (without dressing – I get this in a packet from the vegie section at the supermarket)
(Other possible filling include avocado, pineapple – basically you can let your imagination run wild!)
Unwrap the potatoes from their foil and place in a bowl. Cut open with a knife.
Then you need to start assembling – everyone can do their own and add whatever toppings they like.
For me, I put a good amount of bolognese on top of the potatoes, followed by a good amount of the cheese. Next comes the coleslaw, beetroot and finally a good dollop of sour cream.
This dish is colourful, tasty and one I promise your whole family will love. Why not serve it up at your next family dinner … it’s a great dish to do when you have a lot of guests.
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