Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, the inventions are really quite delicious, such as the Hasselback potatoes I recently learned to cook in my wood stove. Read on to learn more about these tasty taters, and how you can bake them in your own burner, fireplace, or campfire.
Creative Cooking During Power Outages
Power failures are quite common here in the Laurentian mountains. As a result, we’ve learned how to get creative when it comes to cooking and baking without electricity. We’re fortunate enough to have a wood stove, which comes in remarkably handy when it comes to preparing meals. And not freezing to death.
A recent outage inspired me to get a bit more adventurous with my cooking. It occurred to me that I could bake potatoes in the WOOD STOVE. I’ve done something similar with corn at campfire cookouts, so why not potatoes? And hey, why not make them super-delicious HASSELBACK potatoes??
What are Hasselback Potatoes?
These fancy-looking spud dishes were created in the Hasselbacken pub, Sweden. Yes, that’s where they got their name.
To make them, you just make several slices through a potato, from halfway to 2/3 down. This opens the spud up like a fan. You can either peel them beforehand or leave the peel on. Additionally, you can either cram tasty things in between the slices before drizzling them with olive oil or butter, or leave them plain.
You can put anything you want in here, but some combinations are better than others.
- Tomato, basil, buffalo mozzarella
- Roasted red peppers, and sliced marinated mushrooms or artichoke hearts
- Bacon, cheddar, onions
- Prosciutto, asiago cheese, sundried tomatoes
- Smoked turkey and brie
- Asparagus, black olive tapenade, vegan feta
- Salami and provolone
- Ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, cheddar < this one’s really loaded
As you can see, the sky’s the limit with options. I made thick, chunky slices rather than fine ones, and put in thinly sliced red onion, and extra old white cheddar in alternating layers. Then I brushed them with olive oil, and seasoned them with salt, cracked pepper, garlic powder, a bit of summer savory, and a tiny bit of paprika.
How to Bake Them
Lay down a double layer of aluminium foil. Once you’ve coated your spuds in oil or butter, season them and wrap them up tightly, sealing all the edges well. You want to keep all the heat, steam, and goodness inside here.
Next, make sure your coals are the right temperature. Aim for gorgeous, glowing red coals that look like they’re going to keep burning for a while. It took about two hours of hardwood burning to get these looking perfect.
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Rake the coals into a nice little bed, and nestle the wrapped potatoes into them. Then, use the shovel to cover them completely with ash. Pat it all down well, burying the spuds under a nice, warm blanket.
Then close up the wood stove AND the flue so all the heat stays inside.
Let the potatoes bake in there for about 40 to 45 minutes. Then dig out one of the foil-wrapped potatoes, and poke through it with a sharp knife. It should slide in smoothly, letting you know that the interior potato-liciousness is ready to eat.
Remove the rest of the potatoes with a pair of long tongs, brush off the ash, and unwrap them. Then transfer the glorious creations onto a plate to garnish.
We enjoyed ours with homemade skyr, chopped green onions, and cracked pepper, but you can use whatever toppings you like. Add extra grated cheese, douse them in hot sauce, chili, baked beans, etc.
These are delicious and warming on a cold winter night. And hey, cooking on the woodstove whenever it’s on means that you’re using less electricity in general! If you don’t have a burner that you can close, that’s okay too. You can use this technique in a fireplace or campfire coals as well. Just be sure to cover the potatoes completely with ash and embers, and let them bake a little bit longer.
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