This weekend just gone has been a tough one for many people in Australia. COVID infection rates are on the rise again, there’s been new lockdowns announced and restrictions affecting day-to-day living are back. The situation is evolving rapidly and perhaps that, combined with the fact that it’s been chilly, wet and dark for a few days has got me craving comfort food.
Comfort food is highly personal. For some it might be sweet,but for me it’s savoury and specifically in the form of a potato. Yes, the humble spud whether it be mashed, roasted, in the form of a hot chip or a crunchy crisp, makes my heart sing.
In recent years the jacket potato has triumphantly made its way to near top of my potato products line-up. For years I was of the understanding a jacket potato was any potato in its skin, generally boiled, and then often cut open and served with sour cream, bacon and spring onions. Then I met Adam and he introduced me to jacket potatoes of the English variety and I’ve been a convert ever since…
They take their potatoes very seriously in England. Most supermarkets stock several varieties and they’ll change throughout the year depending on what’s in season. I also quickly learnt when Adam and I first got together, what we call jacket potatoes in Australia are often referred to as baked potatoes in England. Baked potatoes are so popular in England you can even buy potatoes marketed for that very purpose.
It feels a little silly writing this out as a proper recipe, because it really is very simple – but, if like me, this is a new way of cooking potatoes for you why not give it the recognition it deserves?!
What you’ll need
- Large potatoes, scrubbed clean and free of eyes and blemishes (allow one potato for each adult. If you can’t find big potatoes, and it can be difficult to find at times, allow two medium potatoes per adult)
How to do it
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180°C. While the oven is heating up, use a fork to pierce each potato all over (this is to avoid potential ‘potato explosions’ – they’re not fun to clean up!) Once the oven is hot, place your potatoes on the rack (no baking tray, no oil/butter on exterior) and let cook for an hour and a half to two hours.
- Remove potato from the oven. The skin will be crispy and delicious and the insides will be fluffy. A word of warning, the interior will be very hot. Deeply score a cross in the potato and serve with your favourite filling.
In our house, we often serve our baked potatoes with baked beans and grated cheese (Paul loves this meal), or with finely chopped Brussels sprouts sautéd slowly with diced bacon. We’ll often eat leftover Bolognese sauce with our potatoes or if you want to keep it really simple just add butter and salt and pepper.
It’s simple, hearty food, but sometimes that’s exactly just what you need.
Have a wonderful week.