“I’m in shape … unfortunately, that shape is a potato.”
Most people know that Paula Deen’s sons are restaurateurs and chefs, but did you know that her husband, Michael Groover, who is a tugboat captain in real life, is also a pretty darn good cook in his own right! Some time ago, on her TV show, Michael, assisted by Paula, cooked his recipe for Deluxe Twice Baked Potatoes with Shrimp. Because it looked so delicious and was also easy to prepare, I knew I’d have to give it a try. With that said, let’s get going with Michael’s recipe (with just a very few modifications of mine).
The most significant change I made to Michael Groover’s original recipe was using crawfish meat instead of shrimp. Living on the Texas-Louisiana border, both crawfish & shrimp are readily available here. I have made this recipe numerous times using both of the meats but I really prefer the crawfish because of the texture, taste and color. Don’t let me dissuade you though … give both a try and decide for yourself.
Remember, some people have an allergic reaction to shellfish!
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer the slices to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble. Obviously, this step can be simplified if you opt to use a 2.8 oz. package of Real Bacon Pieces. Even microwavable, pre-cooked bacon is okay in this step.
Cut open a small opening in one corner of the crawfish pack and drain the liquid. Then, lay out the crawfish meat on 3-4 paper towels and lightly cover and squeeze them in the paper towels to remove more liquid. A word of caution; don't be fooled into using a product from China that is packaged/named almost identically as a product from the U.S.A.
Before handling the cooked potatoes, let them cool slightly on a cutting board (leave the oven on). Slice off the top third of each potato and carefully scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Scoop out the potato from the top third, and add that to the bowl, then discard the skin. Leave about 1/4-inch border of potato inside the skin.
Stuff the potato skins with the filling mixture, mounding any extra on top. Return the potatoes to the oven on a baking sheet and bake them until heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, sprinkle with the reserved chopped green onions and serve. Instead of the chopped onions, I like to sprinkle some extra grated cheese over each potato before putting them back into the oven for the final bake.