Sunday, 20 March 2016


The humble baked potato (or jacket potato as we called them round here) is a staple for many a mealtime up and down the land. However, they can be ever so boring so if there was a way you could jazz them up, you'd be up for that wouldn't you? Well how about these special spuds which are baked, have their insides scooped out and whizzed around with some cheese, spring onions, soured cream and mustard before being stuffed back into the skin and baked again until they are creamy, cheesy, moist and delicious.

The key to getting the most flavor into these potatoes comes from the cheese. There are lots of different smoked cheese available in supermarkets nowadays and that smokiness is what adds that BBQ style flavor to these potatoes. It's not essential to use a smoked cheese but I highly recommend it. Whatever cheese you do decide to use, make sure you can grate it and that it melts really well. Cheddar or Red Leicester are two variations that work really well.

Spring onions are the perfect accompaniment for the cheese and they also baked really well, retaining the right amount of crispness without being too strong and over powering in flavor. Normal red and white onions could be used instead but make sure you dice them really small before adding them to the mix so that they cook through properly. Feel free to use fresh parsley as well if you have any however dried works perfectly well particularly as it's being mixed in with so many other strong flavors. I think adding in a more pungent herb like rosemary or sage would  upset the balance of the potato mix so if you want to replace the parsley with anything use something more subtle like some chopped chives or just leave them out altogether.

When you make mashed potato you would often add butter, milk or maybe even single cream to make them light and fluffy. You can do that with these spuds however try and use some soured cream as I have below. The soured cream gives the potato a nice tang that works with the sharpness of the smoky cheese. That tang is then heightened with the warm heat of the Dijon mustard that is also added to the mix. Only a tsp though as it is a strong flavor and you don't want it to over power everything. I don't think English or French mustard would work at all so if you don't like Dijon (or you're allergic to mustard) then leave it out and don't' replace it with anything else, you will still get a most tasty tater without it.

Finally, make sure you liberally season the potato mix with salt and pepper to make all those flavors pop. Make sure you taste your potato mix before you scoop it back into the skins and add more seasoning if you find the potatoes bland or if you think that the potato taste quite dry, add another tsp of two of your soured cream. You want the potatoes to taste yummy as well as being soft and fluffy.

For the recipe below you will need two potatoes roughly just bigger than your fist. This will make four halves which can be served on their own as a side for four or you can make a meal for two by having two of the halves as a main. Make sure you give yourselves about 1 hour and half to make these as the baking of the potato does take a while if you want to get the perfect soft and fluffy spud;

Cheese And Onion Jacket Potato Halves

2 Large Jacket Potatoes
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Salt And Pepper To Season
150g Grated Smoked Cheese
4 Chopped Spring Onions
1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
2 Tbsp Soured Cream
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

  1. Begin by cracking your oven on to the highest temperature it will go too. 
  2. Whilst the oven warms up rub the skin of each potato with the oil and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. When your oven is hot enough, pop the potatoes on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes before turning the temperature on the oven down to 180 degrees (160 fan) and baking for another 40 minutes until you can slide a knife easily right through the centre of the potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and leave to cool
  3. Whilst the potatoes cool, add the cheese, onions, parsley, soured cream and Dijon mustard into a bowl and give everything a good mix together. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle scoop out the insides whilst keeping the skins intact and add the insides to the bowl with the other ingredients. 
  4. Season the bowl with a liberal amount of salt and pepper and give everything a good a good mash and mix together until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning or add extra cream or mustard if you feel it needs it. The potatoes should taste yummy and be smooth and fluffy.
  5. Now, scoop the pimped up potatoes back into the skins. Proper stuff the potato in so that the skins are bursting at the seams. Pop the potato halves back into the oven and bake again for another 15-20 minutes until the tops have browned and crisped up slightly.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and serve straight away. If you have any parsley remaining you can sprinkle some more oven the top of the potatoes to add a little finishing touch. Break through that golden top and get stuck into that hot and fluffy creamy potato centre flavored with smoky cheese and onion and that subtle heat from the Dijon mustard ticking away in the background. It's might take some time to prepare these bad boy's but trust me when I tell you that the wait is totally worth it. These smoky cheese and onion spuds are spuds turned up to 11.

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