Loaded Baked Potato with Crispy Chicken Fingers and Southern Gravy
So, the other day I was thinking about the best way to kill my husband. Not really, but we both thought it would be a pretty great way to go if I attempted to give him a heart attack with a loaded baked potato. I had mentioned I wanted to make a loaded baked potato, but I wanted to do something different than your standard cheese and bacon potato. We were coming up on Game of Thrones Sunday, and we always have The World’s Best fried chicken or crispy baked chicken fingers, so he said “you should stuff it with fried chicken fingers!”.
Yes, sir… you are correct. I should stuff it with fried chicken.
So I did.
And it was AMAZING!
I have only had Southern white gravy once in my life (and in high-school, I worked at the Cracker Barrel for 3 years. I was all about the dumplings but I couldn’t bring myself to try the gravy). Finally, a few years ago we took a family trip to Nashville TN for a UCLA v. Volunteers football game and you know, when in Rome, you eat your fried chicken with gravy. So I tried it and was like…
How had this been missing from my life? This totally unassuming accompaniment may in fact be the meaning of life. No wonder I have always felt slightly empty… I was missing the meaning of life, and I found it on a delicious piece of fried chicken in a roadside diner in Tennessee. It was absolutely perfect and I wanted to kick myself for not having tried it sooner. Luckily I was with an exhausted 2 year old who was lying on the bench next to me and clearly thought the same thing. I left with a full tummy and bruised thighs.
But I never forgot how yummy the gravy-chicken combo was, so when this fried chicken loaded baked potato began to develop, I knew I would have to smother that sucker in gravy. Sour cream simply would not do. And ya know what? I’m pretty sure I will never make a loaded baked potato any other way. It was so rich and delicious. With crunchy chicken and creamy gravy, yummy melty cheese and (of course) BACON! And then topped with tomato and chives, you know… to make it healthy. (Yeah. You know that is a is a bunch of baloney. But it looked prettier that way). 😉
My gravy recipe is based on one I found on Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen Blog. It is super simple, and also, apparently, quite traditionally Southern. He got in a heap of trouble for making gravy without bacon fat and had to attempt to stave off the pitchfork wielding populace by giving a tried and true Mamma’s kitchen kind of gravy recipe. Since I’d never made it before, I needed some guidance. I added a bit of hot sauce because I am a spicy senorita, but you can skip it if you’re not a fan of the extra kick. So, a big ol’ thank you to Jerry for sending me on the gravy-train. (Omg… yes, I just did that. Quite possibly the dumbest pun ever).
So… if you’re ever thinking maybe you’d want to off your husband in a totally loving and not at all messy way, or if you just have a hankering for a loaded baked potato but want to jazz it up a bit, head on over to the recipe right here.
And let me know your favorite loaded baked potato combinations. I feel like it is an oft over-looked main dish, and after this, I am definitely not going to ignore them as a complete meal option.
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Southern White Gravy
- 5 TBSP rendered bacon fat (save bacon to top potatoes with)
- 4 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 2 Cups whole milk
- 1 tsp (or to taste) hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
Loaded Baked Potatoes
- 4 Russet baking potatoes
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 TBSP coarse sea or kosher salt
- 8 pieces World's Best Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Fingers
- 1 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
- 1 small tomato - diced
- Southern white gravy
- chives garnish
Southern White Gravy
- Measure out 5 tbsp of reserved bacon grease and put back in a large saute pan. Heat over medium heat and whisk in 4 tbsp flour. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until flour darkens and smells nutty. rapidly whisk in 1/2 cup milk and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and add more milk 1/2 cup at a time until you have reached the consistency you like. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
- Rapidly whisk in 1/2 cup milk and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and add more milk 1/2 cup at a time until you have reached the consistency you like. The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools so if you make this ahead, plan to warm it up and add a bit more milk.
- Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
Loaded Baked Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 425. Wash and dry your potatoes and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Stab them a few times with a fork and rub with olive oil and coarse salt. Bake for about 1 hour, or until cooked through.
- Prepare The World’s Best Fried Chicken Fingers according to the recipe . Or, if you prefer, you can use frozen crispy chicken fingers (prepare as directed on the bag).
- Once potatoes are cooked through, slice them as you would a normal baked potato. Stuff each potato with two chicken fingers. Do not worry if your potatoes split… that just shows you’re super-stuffing and that is good
- Top each potato with 1/4 cup cheese and place in your still-warm oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
- Drizzle each potato with gravy and top with chopped bacon, tomatoes and chives.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 692 Total Fat: 43g Saturated Fat: 18g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 21g Cholesterol: 71mg Sodium: 4324mg Carbohydrates: 59g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 20g