Now more than ever, it is essential to support Canadian farmers. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit them hard, with many farmers reporting higher than usual stress and anxiety levels. Supporting our local farmers and buying Canadian-grown produce is the best way to strengthen our communities and promote our ag sector’s sustainability.
With so much fresh and flavorful produce available in your local grocery store, it’s easy to support Canadian farmers! I wanted to develop a recipe that anyone can enjoy – meat-lovers and vegetarians alike – so I decided to tweak the original loaded baked potato recipe. This version includes fresh russet potatoes from Prince Edward Island and Ontario-grown mushrooms and leeks.
Mushrooms give any dish a meaty umami flavour. For this recipe, I chose cremini mushrooms! Cremini mushrooms contain vitamin D, making them great for your immune system. I think all of our systems could use a solid boost right now! Cremini mushrooms are in season year-round in Canada and are great to add an extra umami-kick to a baked potato, along with some aromatic leeks!
Leeks are part of the Allium family and are related to garlic, onions and shallots. These aromatic vegetables provide a dish deep flavour. They are a great alternative to onions as they have a softer and sweeter flavour profile. Leeks have high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. Leeks are in season right now and are most plentiful in the winter months.
Russet potatoes are excellent for a baked potato recipe because of their thick skin that crisps up perfectly when oven-baked. These potatoes are hearty and moist, making them the perfect comfort food. They are also a healthy addition to any dish as they are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, niacin and folate. The russet potato could be the most famous crop to come out of PEI. To pick the perfect russet potato, feel for firmness. You’ll want a firm, hard potato – not one that feels spongey. Avoid potatoes with eyes (tiny growths) – this is a sign of an aged potato. Russet potatoes are in season from August to May, so you can enjoy this dish at its peak potatoey goodness throughout most of the year, yay!
Loaded Baked Potato Ingredients
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 1-hour
- 4 Russet Potatoes
- ½ pound of mushrooms sliced (cremini)
- 2 leeks sliced (rinse well)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Herb de Provence
- Sour Cream (optional)
Preparing your ingredients:
Mushrooms – for some great organic mushroom options, check out Enviro Mushrooms in Burlington, Ont.
- To clean mushrooms, wipe with a damp cloth thoroughly or quickly rinse. Mushrooms absorb water rapidly, and extensive soaking will reduce their flavours.
- Slice mushrooms lengthwise into 2-3 mm pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Leeks – check out Snow Farms in South Delta, B.C
- Leeks have many layers; dirt and soil can easily get caught between these layers, making them difficult to clean.
- To begin, separate the leafy green area from the white stalk with a knife.
- The green leaves can be separated and washed whole.
- Cut the leaves into 1 cm pieces finely across the grain.
- The stalk should be cut first before soaked in a bowl of water for cleaning.
- Cut the stalk by slicing it in half lengthwise and then again horizontally into equal size portions.
- Julienne the stalk and place it into a bowl of water to wash away any dirt particles within the layers.
- Make sure to dry leek before cooking!
Baking your potatoes: Brenn-B Farm in Waterdown, Ont. produces quality potatoes!
- Preheat your oven to 450 F.
- Puncture potatoes all over with a fork or paring knife
- Rub potatoes with a light coat of olive oil
- Sprinkle with salt
- Cook for 1 hour Or until you can pierce the potato easily with a fork
- Let the potato rest for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, let’s work on the toppings!
Make your leek and mushroom topping:
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms begins to brown. Stir consistently
- Add leeks and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until leeks soften.
Plating your Baked Potato:
- Slice your baked potatoes open lengthwise
- Open them slightly and fluff the inside with a fork.
- You can also scoop the potato innards out, fluff them with butter in a bowl, and then return them to the potato skins.
- Top with the leek and mushroom filling.
- Finish with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!
Check out these other potato farms in Canada
Norbest Farms, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta – http://www.norbestfarms.com/Norbest_Farms/Home.html
Garden Isle Farms, Albany, PEI – https://www.gardenislefarms.com/