Jacket potatoes are an old favourite in most British homes. Traditionally they are baked in the oven for a couple of hours, then slit open and butter is added. This cheesy boat has been prepared slightly differently, so if you are a cheese lover and have a creative streak then go ahead and give it a try.
A large baking potato (per person)
a knob of butter (about 1 tsp)
1-2 tbsps milk
1-2 handfuls of grated cheese (plus some for decorating)
Salt and pepper (as required)
Thyme and oregano
Tomato and cucumber slices (decoration)
Wash and pat dry the baking potatoes. Using either a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the potatoes on each side taking care not to make large cuts. This is to allow the steam to be released as they cook. Place in the oven on about 180°c for 2-3 hours, turning once halfway through. The time really does depend on the size of the potatoes, but if a knife slips in easily then they should be done.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your hands.
Using a knife with a sharp tip, run the knife down the centre of the potato on one side, lengthways. Now make another smaller slit to form a cross. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut away the top potato skin to form an oval opening, resembling a boat deck.
Using a metal spoon, carefully dig out the soft potato into a large bowl, being careful not to break the skin. (Even if cooking more than one potato you can use the same bowl). Add the butter and milk and mash until creamy. If it seems a bit dry you can add a tiny bit more milk. Salt and pepper according to your preferences then add the grated cheese. You can add less cheese if on a diet, or more if like me you just love cheese. Mix the cheese and potato together until well combined.**
Spoon the potato mixture back into the skin, pressing down to compact it. Decorate the tops of the potatoes with the last of the grated cheese and sprinkle some thyme and oregano.
Using wooden kebab skewers or even toothpicks, push slices of cucumber and tomato on them to look like sails then press down into the potatoes. Return to the oven for around 5-10 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble, or even place under the grill (be careful not to burn them).
Goes well with coleslaw, and is quite tasty along side Chilli Con Carne… or just eat with a lovely crisp salad. You can find the recipes for these on my blog.
**You can also add a variety of Ham or pepperoni in with the mix before re-stuffing the potatoes.