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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to make English jacket potatoes

When we were visiting our family in England last week, we ate our weight in jacket potatoes. They're different from the baked potatoes we make because they have super crispy skin and a fluffy melty inside. SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

They're all over the place in England. Every pub and restaurant we went to devoted a section of the menu to them, along with a choice of toppings: grated cheddar, baked beans, tuna, cole slaw or plain with butter, salt and pepper.

My aunt Janey often made them for our dinners in Cornwall—as a side to roast chicken or sausages—and we all loved them so much, so she agreed to share the basic recipe...
"Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Cut a cross on the potatoes. Put the potatoes at the top of the oven—straight on the rack, not a baking tray. Cook 1-2 hours (usually closer to 2). When they feel crunchy on the outside, pull the rack out, cut the potatoes open again to release the steam, then put them back into the oven. The major important thing is NOT to turn the oven down as they go soggy and lose their crunch. After ten minutes, serve immediately with shedloads of butter, salt and pepper. Perfect."
Have you ever had these? Do you have them all the time? Is this a no-brainer to you? They're really different from the ones we make in the microwave! Any other toppings you love?

P.S. Crunchy roast potatoes aren't half bad either:)

(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo)

81 comments:

Sarah Spitz said...

Yummy! That looks amazing (and fits perfectly to our cold German summer). Thanks for sharing!

Love from Germany:
http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/08/books-on-food.html

Bambi

Meadow said...

Yeah, this is a no-brainer since I'm married to an English dude lol. Baking potatoes in the microwave? Yuck. I didn't realize people actually did that. My husband puts salt on the outside of them before popping them into the oven and stabs them a few times so they don't explode. Pretty easy stuff. To me, this is just baked potatoes lol. Prior to meeting him, I'd just put them in the oven and that would be it.

Nicola McCarthy said...

As an English person I can confirm that these really are everywhere and super delicious :)

I like reading your blog for an American take on English things, I find it really interesting, thank you.

I love that you said shedloads as I think that's such a British saying xx

Mairéad said...

My current pregnancy craving is jacket potatoes with coleslaw, yum yum - I have them at least twice a week. Never tried letting the steam out and putting them back in the oven though - will try that tomorrow.

rosewatersaffron said...

2 hours in 200 C! I am surprised that they don't burn! I'll try that.

Ashley R said...

I love baked potatoes, so I really need to get on this! They sounds lovely.

suzewearsshoes said...

Yikes! As an English gal, microwaving a jacket potato seems so.. wrong! If you liked these try doing the same trick but for less time with smaller potatoes to make mini jackets, then grating parmesan over them. Utterly delicious :)

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, nicola, janey says "shedloads" all the time. also: "pants," as in "this rainy weather is pants." :)

Marta Smyk said...

I love eating them with a lot of butter, salt&pepper and Branston Pickle on the top and fresh salad as a side.

Alexa said...

"Serve immediately with shedloads of butter, salt and pepper." Hahaha cute phrasing!

This looks so tasty, especially for these cool NYC evenings lately.

Joanna Goddard said...

pickles, that's awesome!

Jess said...

Having them tonight in London! They are a regular on our family table. Wash them the rub salt into the wet skin before baking yum! Never in the microwave!

Jess said...

Having them tonight in London! They are a regular on our family table. Wash them the rub salt into the wet skin before baking yum! Never in the microwave!

Joanna Goddard said...

pickles?? awesome!!

Kate said...

Does it matter what kind of potato you use? Are they russet? They look delicious!

Giulia said...

Yes, this is how I make them & seeing as how my mother was Welsh, probably the reason. I am now without a microwave & do not miss it a bit. But I used to make them the way Jamie Oliver did: nuke 'til nearly done. Meanwhile, oven hot hot hot & roll them in a bit of olive oil, salt then pop into oven for 10-15 minutes til crispy. I think that's it. Anyway, welcome back! xo/Susan

Unknown said...

We do these all the time but you can do them in the microwave then put them in the oven and it works just as good (as per my husband's 95-year-old English granny)
So basically you put the potatoes in the microwave for about 10 minutes. Once out of the microwave spread butter on the outside and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle some salt over the top and place them in a high oven for about 20 more minutes. Same result but a heck of a lot quicker!

Rachel said...

My host mom made these last year when I was in England but I didn't ask for the recipe. These couldn't come at the more opportune moment - I just bought potatoes.

Do you have any experience with sticky toffee pudding? I don't know how traditionally English it is, but if you have any tips or a favorite recipe, I would be over the moon.

Little Hiccups said...

Baked potatoes like this are really popular in Australia - except that we fill them up with coleslaw, sourcream, cheese... All sorts of stuff. They're a popular takeout meal and most shopping centre food courts have a baked potato shop.

I live in California now and I miss my baked potatoes. I've thought about making them at home but never knew how to get the skins like that. Now that I know the trick I'm going to have to give it a try :)

catherine sprunt said...

Yum!

You can pop them in the microwave and then crisp them up in the oven afterwards if you're short on time

Mrs Barker said...

One of my favorite comfort foods! I miss being able to have them anytime, I wish more restaurants in the states served them. My favorite is with beans, cheese and a little HP sauce :)

Christina said...

They sound so good! Two hours? That's a lot of patience. haha

- Christina www.cityloveee.blogspot.com

Danielle Grace said...

How big of a cross do you cut, and where at on the potato? These look tremendous!

Amber Content said...

These look so delicious! i think I will buy some potatoes on the way home and make them for dinner! It's perfect for me because potatoes are my favorite food, and it can be vegan friendly for my partner!

Amy McGovern said...

This post is funny to me, as I am from the UK and LOVE jacket potatoes! I also love shed loads of butter, tuna and mayo, or chilli, ALWAYS with loads of grated cheddar cheese!
However when i am being healthy, lately i am, i use coconut oil as a replacement, it really works. I also substitute cheese for nutritional yeast. Its so yum, and super healthy!
So glad you love them Jo! x

Alissa said...

I definitely need to start working "shedloads" into my vocabulary. It will certainly be a change for the better from my current "s"-loads word. :)

Kathryn Sutton said...

I had no idea what you were going to say, and find it hilarious as they are such a staple food in my house that is never considered this a recipe! So much better than the microwaved version though (although two hours is a long time to wait for a potato!)

Kat x
https://thelondonplaybook.wordpress.com/

bisbee said...

I'm making these tonight. We normally make baked potatoes almost like this - since we both like them overbaked. I used to make baked potatoes in the microwave...when I was married to my first husband. Current husband is a good cook...no microwave potatoes now! I also used to always use Idaho or Russet potatoes for baking...but now we use either white or Yukon Gold. I like them better - the flesh isn't as dry.

Marcello Alioto said...

By England do you mean Cornwall? I live in London and have family in Sussex, and contrary to a commenter below I hardly ever see jacket potatoes on any menu. They are indeed British, but not quite as prevalent as being "all over" here. Perhaps more so as a familiar guest at a family dinner table.

ayetch said...

Definitely an English staple. Rubbing salt on the skins helps to dehydrate and crisp them, and adds flavour!

When I was wee, my ma used to scoop out the middle, mix it with cheese & chives, and then pop them under the grill. Delicious!

It's so interested to hear your take on our Englishnesses. I can't wait to read more about your travels.

stateandoccupation.com said...

My boyfriend thinks I'm a nut for loving plain potatoes so much but they're SO good. And comforting! He says I have the taste buds of a 90 year old. I'm gonna try this out! :)

Dakota Barber

gia said...

Fab! Love the simplicity! Thanks!

Lilac In May said...

Love jacket potatoes. I cook my baked potatoes with a metal skewer going through them - you can get 4 on a kebab type skewer, cooks 'em quicker - also a bit of oil and salt on the skins after you've done them in the microwave - crisps the skins quickly.

Ashleigh Brown said...

I am an English gal too so yeah! this is a common lunch for me. My favourite topping is strong cheddar & baked beans :) so comforting

Cozy Little House said...

No, I have not had this, but it looks delectable. However I do eat a baked potato of some variety every night for supper. And this would be another variety.
Brenda

Clare Priest said...

Top tip from an English girl: prickly the potatoes with a fork and then microwave for 5-7 minutes. Then put them in the hot oven for about an hour (depending on qty and size). For some reason, this makes them super fluffy inside and crunchy outside :-)

Joanna Goddard said...

marcello, thanks for your comment! we visited friends in durham up north, and then flew down for a week in cornwall, and then drove over to west sussex to stay with friends for a night before we flew out of heathrow, and we saw jacket potatoes in all three places. so maybe they're more common in pubs/restaurants outside london? now i'd love to do a driving tour and find out :)

Katrina Fleetham said...

Baked potatoes have always been my comfort food, even if I only have time to nuke them in a microwave. I accept potatoes in all forms. :)

Mona peacecabona said...

we love with bacon, sauted mushrooms and onions, sourcream and butter/garlic butter. YUM!!

Kate Warns said...

Another English girl vouching for the humble JP here! Best made in an Aga. Would advise taking them out a few minutes early, adding a bit of cheese in the middle, pushing them back together (hot - mind fingers) and then back in for the last few minutes. Delish.

Rachel S said...

I've only been to England once... for a 24 hour layover in London and I had a "jacket potato" while there. It was the best baked potato I've ever had in my life! I'll have to see if I can replicate it here.

skolithos said...

I've lived in the UK my whole life, in Scotland and England, and these are very common (especially filled for lunch) all over the UK. You can get filled jackets as a main in most pubs, and simple buttered jackets as a side in most restaurants. Try them filled with prawn Marie Rose - tangy, creamy, and a lovely mix of hot and cold :)

Jo Moores said...

As a Northern English girl I have grown up on JP's as a cheap and cheerful staple, we do them slightly different but there are no hard and fast rules, my Nana used to cook them all day in the bottom of the oven when she was having a baking day, wrap in tinfoil and put in the embers of a camp fire the list goes on... My favourite is heat the oven up to 240c rinse the spud/s and pat dry, don't cut or puncture the skin, pop in hot oven on wired rack on a high shelf for 20mins don't open the door just turn the heat down to 200c and bake for 1-2hours depending on the size of spuds and number in the oven.
Split and serve with your favourite topping.
We also make stuffed JP's. Follow as above whilst spuds are cooking boil some smoked haddock in water or milk whatever is your preference, when fish is cooked flake into a large bowl with a big dollop of mustard, a generous handful of grated cheese and a glug of salad cream. Cut the JP's in half and scoop out the filling and mix this with the cheese etc. When mixed re-fill the half skins with the mix and pop back in the oven for 10-15mins. Eat on their own or serve as a side. Scrummy.

officiallyobsessed.net said...

When I lived in Edinburgh years ago, I was basically a regular at the Baked Potato Shop there. While the simple ones are quite delicious, I had fun trying the crazier toppings too, maybe because the whole thing was such a novelty to me as an American!

My favorite, seriously, was the delicious pasta salad-topped jacket potato. What can I say, I like carbs. :)

Miss Singer said...

I lived in London during college and my coworkers would eat these with the tuna, beans and slaw and it always grossed me out. I'm not a potato person anyways, but the toppings - no way.

Momofthree said...

Is it a deep cross or a shallow cross? Does that even matter? Is this a dumb question? :)

Cassie said...

Do you think this could work for sweet potatoes?

marit said...

That's so funny, my gran lives in Cornwall and makes it too!

Xx

Molly said...

You made my day, Joanna! I LOVE potatoes (and all things related to Mother England:), so I cannot wait to try these!! Thank you xo

Emily Bird said...

Haha, I thought it said a "shitload of butter." Since they basically mean the same thing, I'm still pretty excited.

Joanna Goddard said...

emily, hahaha, just laughed out loud.

hannah lamb said...

I had a Spanish language teacher who said it took her a while to get used to the Brits occupation with jacket potatoes as in Spain they feed them to the pigs! Glad you're back - I live in Somerset and it was weird missing the posts while at the same time knowing you were down the road! x

Joanna. said...

We have these all the time, except we wrap them in foil before putting them in the oven. Means the jackets get cooked, but not too overdone. They're also great to bash in the oven in the morning and leave on all day on a low heat to slow cook them into a lovely mash-in-a-jacket.

Ohhellojo.blogspot.com

EvaS said...

That looks so good! I will certainly try them. I love potatoes in general!
http://www.sunfogandotherthoughts.com/

Lisa said...

I had a six month internship in London a few years ago and I lived off of jacket potatoes! So so good.

Rachel said...

I studied abroad in London, and one of my favorite meals to get was a jacket potato with beans and cheddar. It made me so happy when I found heinz beans here in the US! I haven't had one in years though- I think it's time to bring it back!

Style Sprinter said...

These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe - I will definitely try it one day.

http://www.stylishpetite.com/

Style Sprinter said...

These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe - I will definitely try it one day.

http://www.stylishpetite.com/

Style Sprinter said...

These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe - I will definitely try it one day.

http://www.stylishpetite.com/

Rosie said...

I love how some people in the comments call them "JPs" - so cute! I want to make these part of our dinner repertoire. First, a quick (possibly dumb) question which others have asked: how deep and big is the cross you cut on the potato? I've never seen this before! Also, what was the best topping you had?!

Teffy Perk said...

I always ate a jacket potato at University (I studied in London) filled with baked beans and cheese. So yum!

{Teffy's Perks} X

Tamsin Jessica said...

I don't really see how this counts as a recipe? = take potato, put in oven, eat. We have them all the time in winter, but really, this is not cooking. This is basic potato goodness in mouth yum time.

Jenny Attwater said...

This post made me smile - being English I found it funny that you managed to glorify the humble jacket potato!

It doesn't matter what potato you use but the result will vary. Generally speaking, you will end up with either a 'waxy' or 'fluffy' jacket. I much prefer waxy but it's all a matter of taste - worth experimenting.

Microwaved potatoes are pretty foul. HOWEVER, one good trick to reduce cooking time is to microwave a potato for about five mins, then put in oven. Don't have to wait two hours then.

Also, I read that the secret to a perfect potato was not to prick it before cooking, but when ready - or near ready - poke a very large hole in the skin very quickly. Apparently the steam exiting quickly makes the texture nice.

Anyway, I'm going to stop talking about jacket potatoes now...

Jenny Attwater said...

Oops. I meant 'floury,' not fluffy.

Here is the article. Nigel Slater:http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2002/jan/13/foodanddrink.recipes2

Sammi Egan said...

I haven't seen Janey in years now but rememeber her being such a lovely woman :)

You can put *anything* on a proper jacket potato. Bolognese, chilli, butter. My father rubs most jacket spuds with olive oil and salt before putting them in the oven. We also cook them in tin foil for the first half.

A Lychee a Day said...

We definitely eat jacket potatoes a lot here in England! To be honest they are amazing! :D I love having mine with lots of cheese on top and some coleslaw. Yummy!

Ayesha xxx
Http://alycheeaday.blogspot.co.uk/

downtowndownshift said...

As an Aussie this is funny to me too! I will always remember my Mum fussing about what to cook for dinner when she was cooking for Grandfather (my Dad's father) and he said "Put the potatoes on then decide what's for dinner". You can tell he was from good Irish stock! My Dad always washed the potatoes then covered them in salt and straight into the oven. Super crispy, salty goodness! And yep I read 'shedload' as 'sh*tload' as that's the Aussie colloquialism!

Keep Warm (Danielle) said...

When I lived in England we made tuna, sweet corn, mayo jacket potatoes with cheese on top. It was delicious especially served with Jalapeno tartar sauce! Best thing ever!

Kasia Browne said...

Love jacket potatoes! I just prick my ones with a fork a few times, rub with sea salt and stick in the oven for a little bit over an hour. Sometimes we make them when we have friends over and then serve many bowls of toppings:baked beans, fried onions, crispy bacon, grated cheddar,dried peppers,sour cream, rocket and of course lots of butter!

Kiri Cragin Folwell said...

My potato consumption sky rocketed when I moved to London. My English hubby ate them so much for school lunches and dinner at home that he is 'over them', which I just can't believe. Long live the potato!

www.stateofsunshineblog.com

alexandra bradford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

I never had jacket potatoes, but I studied in Edinburgh for a semester and I'm pretty sure I would've starved if not for beans on toast. Imagine my disappointment to discover upon my return to the States that the 'baked beans' in the UK are nowhere to be found in the US!
It's been almost 8 years and still I get cravings sometimes!! I've tried looking for recipes online, but couldn't find a thing :(

katylux said...

I lived in London when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Everyone at my office laughed at me because I'd go to the potato cart in the high street and get a beans and cheese jacket potato for lunch every single day. It was so tasty and hearty and filling on a cold day. Best 1 pound 75p I could spend!

{london lapin} said...

Mmmm, I LOVE jacket potatoes! They certainly are a staple here in England (whatever some other commenters may have said!) and they are on lots of pub menus. As some others have mentioned salt the outside too - rosemary salt, even better, lashings and lashings of butter and/or melted cheese, one of the best meals ever! Francesca http://londonlapin.me

tara said...

These look fantastic!

Stacy Hofman said...

I would not have gotten through my year in London with out them - a pint and a jacket potato!!! YUM!! xo

Claire said...

Love it! I was in England and Wales last fall visiting family....and 7 weeks pregnant. This and cheese sandwiches were the only thing I could stomach! This post reminded me of how sick I was during that trip! Lol

artemis from JUNKAHOLIQUE said...

i think this is a British caf classic! ...not just England but all over the UK. espescally nice wrapped in foil and slung into the bonfire pit...yum!

Jennifer said...

One of my favorite memories is of visiting my dear friend when she was going for her doctorate at Oxford... We would go to a local caf for tea and jacket potatoes... Branston pickle and cheddar for me, tuna and sweet corn for her. YUM.

Sasanka Seacreature said...

I just tried making these yesterday, after finding this recipe on your blog and they worked out really well. Crispy outside, fluffy inside plus the butter and salt! Delicious! Thanks for sharing. Bee

Sugar Plum Eats said...

Its bizarre to see a recipe for this. I thought everyone knew how to make them, i now know. I stab them a few times put a little oil on and lots of salt before baking them.
As for a filling, homemade coleslaw with plain tuna. Or on a cold night, chilli, sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese. So good.

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