Probably one of the most deliciously simple dishes ever to come out of the kitchen, the jacket potato has become one of the most popular dishes on earth. Usually, any place where food is served will provide a well-cooked and well-filled jacket potato; but avoid eating them at any school/college/university canteen as they have been mass prepared and certainly lose some of their appeal.
Preparation and Cooking
First, select a large potato, such as a King Edward. Then, take a skewer or another sharp-pointed instrument, as long as it's clean, and prick the surface of the potato gently.
Hopefully, the oven will already be turned on to about 200°C / Gas Mark 6. If it isn't, do so now.
Brush on a little bit of melted butter or, if you're on a tight budget, vegetable oil.
Wrap the potatoes in oven foil.
Put them on a baking dish in the oven, and leave them for one to two hours.
To check if the potato is done, gently stab it with the skewer; if it feels soft, it's done; if it's hard, come back later. If it's mushy, throw the potato away and get your mother to cook them next time.
Put the potato on a microwave-proof dish, put the microwave on to full power, and cook the potatoes (one at a time) for 8 - 10 minutes each. Microwaved potatoes are hot. Very hot. Always wear oven gloves if you want to handle them.
The Fun Bit
Any jacket potato must be filled, otherwise it wouldn't be a jacket potato. Anything can be used for a filling... and be adventurous; but remember, you are going to have to eat the end product. Once you have chosen the filling, simply split the potato into two lengthways; spread a little butter over the insides of the potato, and pour the filling over the top. An alternative method is to scoop out the potato from the skin, and mash it up with the filling, before scooping it back in. This method is particularly favoured by children.
Here are some favourite fillings to make the perfect jacket spud:
Grate lots of cheese, sprinkle over the potato, let it melt, and eat. You could even cook up a can of beans, and pour them over the dish as well.
Cottage cheese is a favourite for those on a diet. If you have the time, you could add bits of herbs into the cottage cheese. Pineapple also gets mixed into the cheese occasionally.
Opening up a tin of tuna and mixing it with a little mayonnaise and maybe a bit of sweetcorn results in a sloppy mess that is also a good accompaniment for your cooked potato.
Chilli Con Carne is yet another sloppy filling. Being tasty, spicy, smelly and exceptionally messy means that you may need lots of napkins and mints.
Coleslaw is a bizarre mixture of cabbage, carrot, onion and mayonnaise but works surprisingly well in the humble potato.
Personal choice is the magic of the jacket potato - you can eat it with whatever you want.