The Simple Baked Potato

Jacket Potato

This time of year is perfect for baked potatoes, or jacket potatoes as I knew them growing up. Earthy vegetables come into their own in the autumn, often becoming the main act at meal times, even for us carnivorous folks, and a baked potato can be a real star. It’s one of those homely meals that really nourishes and comforts, as basic as it is. On cold evenings it’s like a hot water bottle for your tummy and on rainy days it’s cheering with its crisp skin, fluffy insides and rising steam.

As the season moves on and the pages of the calendar flick by we come to Bonfire Night; the ultimate show for the humble potato. Anyone who’s ever stood outside in the freezing, smoky November air watching fireworks colour the pitch black sky like spray paint whilst eating a piping hot baked potato will know exactly why they’re a match made in heaven.

I love simple cooking and, really, the baked potato is so simple that making it can hardly be described as cooking; it’s just a case of heating. I got home last night tired after a busy day at work and all I had to do was preheat the oven, stab a couple of potatoes with a fork (which, by the way, I highly recommend for stress relief and PMT), bung them into the oven straight onto the bars, and sit back on the sofa for an hour or so while the oven did its thing.

There are many, many options for fillings, such as wild mushrooms, simply sautéed, perhaps with a little garlic; Bolognese sauce or chilli for a heartier meal; tuna mayonnaise for an old-school classic. My favourite is grated cheese and baked beans but, in all honesty, I don’t think any topping is as good as sea salt and a large knob of butter to melt and mash into the potato. What’s your favourite?

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7 Comments

  1. September 30, 2010 / 5:37 pm

    Oh, I just love jacket potatoes (I’m with you on the name thing! lol). I am particularly partial to the good old tuna & sweetcorn mayonnaise, but if it’s available, my absolutely favourite has to be a blisteringly hot chilli with strong cheddar cheese. My mouth is watering at the very thought! Now, if only the rest of my family shared my passion for the humble jacket. *sigh*

  2. September 30, 2010 / 5:54 pm

    Yes, sea salt, real butter and freshly cracked pepper are the best… then cottage cheese & smoked mackerel paste 🙂

  3. Maurits
    September 30, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    My favorite is Reblochon on top and maybe some chives. The (slightly) healthier version of a Tartiflette..

  4. Julia
    Author
    September 30, 2010 / 7:13 pm

    Mmm….chilli and cheese. Also perfect for Bonfire Night.

    Loving all the combinations!

  5. September 30, 2010 / 8:45 pm

    Mmmmmmmmm, lovely! I swither between cottage cheese and beans with a little grated cheddar. Not fancy, but very tasty 🙂

  6. October 6, 2010 / 4:46 pm

    At Sheridans in County Meath you can get a gorgeous smoked Irish cheddar. It’s heavenly melted on baked potatoes. I must confess I’m just as happy with baked beans though 🙂

  7. October 6, 2010 / 7:29 pm

    I love jacket potatoes. I’m particularly revolting as I like to have tuna mayo, baked beans AND cheese in mine. Very greedy but always brings a smile to my face. I also like a big wodge of Boursin in the middle. The perfect lazy supper – so comforting!

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