Sour Cream Is the Undisputed MVP In These Next-Level Potato Skins

Be prepared for everyone to request it at every gathering from now on.

January 21, 2020 ● 5 min read

Look, sour cream knows you like to get all heated on Game Day. Flavors are big, plating is bold, and titans of the snack-verse collide. It’s a societally-approved monument to maximalism, an open invitation to indulge your more cheeseball tendencies (which, incidentally, may mean actual cheeseballs). 

And there’s a reason sour cream is a nearly ubiquitous presence on most spreads: it tempers chili-induced flare-ups, alleviates richness without sacrificing mouthfeel, and it won’t bust an innocent chip into shards when you get distracted by a commercial break. 

For private chef and Top Chef alum Brandon Rosen, there’s no need to reinvent the Game Day wheel—you’ve just gotta shine it up and make it take you places.

When it comes to this time-honored culinary arena, the Rosen crew are what you might call classicists. The rotation includes his mom’s time-honored sour cream and onion dip (yes, with the French onion packet mixed in) or a layered dip with black beans, refried beans, avocado mousse, fresh pico de gallo, and cheese. But really, Rosen says, it’s always going to come down to the potato skins—which also make an appearance when the family gathers each year to watch his beloved Detroit Lions (usually lose, valiantly) on Thanksgiving Day.

“My dad makes potato skins to where they’re almost burnt, so you get that crispy, delicious caramelized potato texture,” he explains. “[The skin is] the best part; a little sweet, a little earthy.” 

In this recipe, Rosen’s homage to those potato skins of yore includes a braised brisket, the sauce glossy with cream and redolent with chilies. If over 60% of taste is mouthfeel, he points out, then the palatability of something will absolutely change your experience of how it tastes. “Anytime you’re braising, it’s usually a fattier piece of meat, or one with a tougher muscular structure. I use just enough sour cream to help tenderize it,” he says. “Then, that sour cream adds body to the sauce without having to add any thickeners later. As the cream cooks, it gives it a rich, brothy consistency and keeps the spice at a nice level, too.” 

On of all that, Rosen says, sour cream is also a natural tip of the hat to one of the biggest things in the restaurant scene right now: Ferments, and pickles. Our collective palates crave that little lift wherever we can find it, and sour cream has been hiding in plain sight this whole time.

“The most important thing that people miss when they cook at home is salt and acidity. When you add things like sour cream, or fresh lemon or lime or orange or a vinegar of some sort, it brightens your palate,” he says. “In my mind, sour cream is the upper tier of dairy tools. Of all your dairy choices, it has that rich, fat content, along with the brightness.”

Two things to remember before you embark on this journey: make sure your potatoes are fully cooked before pulling them from the oven—the ol’ poke with a paring knife test will do the trick—and let your meat rest in the braising liquid. 

“Anytime you braise something, it lets out a lot of its liquid and flavor,” Rosen says, “but as it drops in temperature, it will absorb all those juices back.” Crispy, chewy, caramelized potato skins, luscious falling-apart brisket, and a velvety swipe of cooling sour cream? Like we said: next-level. 

RECIPE: Chipotle and Sour Cream Braised Brisket and Potato Skins

The lactic acid in the sour cream helps break down the brisket into melt-in-your-mouth territory, and evens out the heat from pureed chipotle and adobo chilies—leaving just enough of a kick to have you going back for another bite.

 

10 potato skins

 

For the Brisket:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1½ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 pounds beef brisket

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced 

½ sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

¼ cup FAGEⓇ Sour Cream

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce

1 cup beef broth

 

For the Potatoes:

5 large russet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Fine sea salt

 

For Pickled Cabbage:

½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

 

1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6oz)

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup FAGEⓇ Sour Cream

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl stir to combine brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, salt, oregano, if using, cumin, and chili powder. Cut brisket in half, then sprinkle rub all over.
  2. In a medium skillet heat oil over medium heat. Sauté peppers, onion, and garlic until softened 6-8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker and stir in sour cream, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and broth. Add brisket to slow cooker. 
  3. Cover and cook until very tender, 6-8 hours. Break up brisket with 2 forks.
  4. About 1 hour before brisket is done, preheat oven to 400℉. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  5. Rinse and scrub potatoes well in cold water. Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork, then rub with oil and a little salt. Place on baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 1 hour. 
  6. For pickled cabbage, in a medium bowl toss to combine cabbage, lemon, honey, and salt. Set aside.
  7. When the potatoes are done, let sit until they are cool enough to handle but still hot. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out ½-⅔ of the potato flesh, leaving a layer of flesh attached to the skin. 
  8. Increase oven temperature to 450℉. 
  9. Place the potato halves on a rack set over the foil-lined baking sheet and bake, flipping once, until browned and crisp, 6-8 minutes per side.
  10. Fill potato skins with braised brisket. Top with cheese, place back on rack, and return to oven until cheese is melted. 
  11. To serve, top with cabbage, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.

Want even more sour cream goodness? Watch Rosen make an incredible Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings in this video, then make it with this recipe:

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

6 servings

For the Wings:

½ cup FAGEⓇ Sour Cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2½ pounds split chicken wings

For the Glaze:

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sherry, apple cider, or rice vinegar 
1½ teaspoons olive oil

For Cilantro-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:

½ cup FAGEⓇ Sour Cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Chopped green onion (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together sour cream, lime juice, oil, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cayenne until smooth. Toss chicken wings in marinade, cover, refrigerate, and let sit at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400℉. Line 2 baking sheets with racks and spray racks with cooking spray. 
  3. Remove wings from marinade and wipe off excess. Place wings on racks and bake for 25 minutes. Flip wings over and bake 15 minutes more or until deep golden brown.
  4. For the glaze, in a small bowl whisk to combine mustard, honey, pepper flakes, vinegar, and oil.
  5. Brush wings with glaze on both sides. Return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes more.
  6. While wings bake, prepare dipping sauce. In a small serving bowl whisk to combine sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. 
  7. Transfer wings to a serving dish. If desired, sprinkle with green onion. Serve with sour cream sauce alongside.|