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Jacket potatoes with melted gouda cheese on topAs you may have noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with my slow cookers. I’m in love with the things. I can talk about them all day. Strangely enough, until recently I hadn’t got round to trying baked potatoes, even though I’d seen a number of blogs saying how great they are. Then finally I did, and thank goodness for that! I still can’t believe how good they are, and how easy it is to make them.

When I decided to do my little experiment, there were two methods I wanted to try. One involving tin foil and one not. The tin foil method means wrapping up each one of the clean, scrubbed spuds and baking them in the foil, whereas the other method means rubbing them with some oil and salt and baking them au naturel. So it’s oil or foil! (Sorry, that was too tempting…)

The result was the same in terms of deliciousness although in the first case –and maybe this is my imagination- I thought I could detect a hint of tinny taste. Anyhow, the way I see it is if you get the same results, why waste loads of foil each time? I ate these with a topping of gouda cheese and a quick yogurt based sauce as an alternative to sour cream (which is sadly not available in Greece).

A few days later I saw a couple of sweet potatoes beckoning to me from the supermarket crate. Yup, you guessed it. Into my CrockPot they went. Washed, scrubbed, oiled and spiced. 5 hours later, gorgeously soft and squishy, my baked sweet potatoes were ready. I followed Stephanie O’Dea’s idea (O’Dea’s idea! Sorry, sorry, I’ll stop) for these, and I must say that squirting some lime juice on these babies is the right way to go. It really balances out the rich sweetness. The next day I had a throw-it-together lunch of sweet potato (scooped out of the skin) with leftover roast chicken pieces. Lime juice over the top, freshly cracked black pepper, salt… and voila, a seriously yummy (and healthy) meal.
Soft orange flesh of a sliced open baked sweet potato
If you have a slow cooker you really need to make jacket potatoes in it.

Slow Cooker Jacket (Baked) Potatoes

What you need:
Potatoes, whichever kind you fancy
A bit of olive oil (or whatever oil)
Salt (for regular spuds)
Spice mix of 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt (for sweet potatoes)

What you do:

  1. Wash the potatoes very well, scrubbing if necessary, but don’t scrub off the skin! Dry them with kitchen paper.
  2. Put some salt or the spices in a little bowl (don’t wait till your hands are oily, it’s messy!).
  3. Rub some oil between your hands and then rub the potatoes so that they get lightly coated.
  4. Take some salt or spices from the bowl and rub them on the potatoes too.
  5. Stick the potatoes in the slow cooker (you can stack them – mine came up to the top!). A good idea if they aren’t too long is to put them in vertically (“standing up”). I had one long one that didn’t fit so they went in horizontally and it was fine.
  6. Sprinkle any remaining salt/spices over the potatoes, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5. If you only have a few (the first time I did only two) they might be ready earlier (approx. 3 hours on high), so try them by sticking a fork in to see if they’re soft. My sweet potatoes (again only two) were definitely ready before the 5 hours on high, I’d just forgotten about them. No harm done though, they were just really soft inside.
  7. If you find yourself with oily salty hands, before washing them rub them together, massaging the backs and cuticles. It’s fab for exfoliating and leaving beautifully soft mitts. Slather with hand cream afterwards. And another trick; for getting oil off your hands more easily, rub soap or washing up liquid on before you wet them. It won’t lather until you do, but oil and grease washes off much better this way.
  8. When ready, cut the potatoes lengthwise and top with your favourite toppings. Butter, cheese, crumbled bacon, cheese, sour cream, chives, cheese, baked beans, chili con carne, cheese… anything! For the sweet potatoes squeeze some lime juice, it really suits them.

Note: to be honest, I’m not sure how much of the spice actually penetrated the skin of the sweet potatoes and gave it taste. However I didn’t prick them before cooking, so maybe that had something to do with it. Next time I’ll try it.

Yogurt Sauce
Serves 1

What you need:
2 Tbs natural yogurt
Salt, white pepper, black pepper
Pinch of dried coriander leaves (or 2 tsp fresh chopped)
Pinch of smoked paprika
A good squeeze of lemon juice

What you do:
Mix it all up!
Jacket potatoes baked in the slow cooker
Other baked potato goodness:
8 Creative Toppings For Baked Potatoes by HuffPost Taste
Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup Recipe by Stephanie O’Dea
Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Pennies on a Platter
Chicken and White BBQ Potatoes by Prevention RD
Reminiscing A Little Over Vegetable-Stuffed Potatoes by The Cozy Apron