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Phil Vickery's affordable loaded jacket potato traybake

If you’re feeling the January pinch on your bank account, our chefs are on a mission to help. All this week they’ll be proving you don’t have to splash the cash to enjoy a delicious meal, as they rustle up family feasts which all cost just £1 a head or less. Phil Vickery’s kick-starting the budget-friendly week, with his family favourite Loaded Jacket Potato Tray Bake.

Phil’s stuffed bacon onion tomato jackets

Serves: 4


4 large baking potatoes

6 rashers streaky British dry cured bacon, chopped into small pieces

4 medium onions peeled and finely sliced

2 tbsp vegetable oil


black pepper

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes in juice

1 x chicken stock cube

2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp tomato puree (optional)

2-3 tbsp cornflour or arrowroot

2-3 tbsp cold water

100g grated strong (any) cheese (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C, Gas 7.

2. Wash the potatoes well, score around the lengthways just through the skin with a sharp knife (this stops them sometimes exploding in the oven).

3. Skewer with a teaspoon or metal skewer, and place in the oven, cook for 1 hour or until soft and with crunchy skins.

4. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan and add the bacon and oil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the onions and cook until nicely coloured - about 15 minutes.

5. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Take out the spoons or skewers and cut in half lengthways, spoon the hot potato into a bowl.  Keep the skins intact.

6. Add the bacon and onions to the potatoes, add a little salt and pepper and mix carefully, leave nice and chunky.

7. Spoon the mixture back into the shells piling nice and high, then pack nice and tightly into a baking dish.

8. Bring the canned tomatoes, stock cube, vinegar and puree to simmer.

9. Mix the cornflour or arrowroot and water together and spoon into the simmering tomatoes until nicely thickened but not too much.

10. Spoon the tomato sauce evenly over the filled potato halves and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil (and sprinkle with cheese if using) Then return to the oven or grill until lightly browned.

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