The Coziest Homemade Food, or Jacket Potatoes Lithuanian Style
Is there a better comfort food than a potato? I don’t think so. The cheap and universal potato can be prepared in roughly a million ways, and it can be eaten at any time of the day: whether it’s a Spanish omelet for breakfast, mash for lunch, or filled with meat for dinner.
Jacket potato is one of the simplest and best meals in the world, though somehow very much neglected in the capital of potatoes – Lithuania. You probably don’t really care much, but listen: we eat potatoes in all possible shapes and forms, but hardly ever see a jacket potato on the table. Why?
However, I believe that perfection lies in simplicity (well, okay, not, like ALWAYS, but this time, it really does), so today I’m sharing jacket potatoes with homemade sauce. Now, this sauce is again purely Lithuanian, but it’s easy to make, and you won’t even need any weird ingredients. I really recommend trying it, and should you wish to google it, it’s called kastinys. The whole dish, by the way, is super easy to make, delicious and really filling. What else would you need?
So, back to potatoes. Here, we want as much crispness as we can possibly get. When it comes to the amounts, please do the math yourself. For me, one is just enough. A bigger man might probably need 3. You can also serve these potatoes as a garnish – in that case, you’ll need to evaluate how hungry are your friends or family.
Ingredients for potatoes:
potatoes (the starchier, the better);
kastinys (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.
Carefully wash the potatoes; if they seem really dirty, scrub them a bit. But don’t get too excited – we need the peel to remain intact. Dry them and pierce with a fork.
Generously and carefully brush the potatoes with oil, put them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. It’s up to you how crazy you wish to go with the seasoning, but I’d recommend not being too thrifty.
Bake for about an hour and a half. Your goal is a potato with a crispy exterior that feels quite soft when gently pressed. You can also check by sticking a fork or knife in it.
Take your potatoes out of the oven, slice lengthwise, and generously fill with kastinys (recipe below). Garnish with dill or any other herb of your choice.
Ingredients for kastinys:
200 g full-fat sour cream, cold;
20 g butter; caraway seeds (optional);
1 clove of garlic;
salt and pepper to taste
If using, cover the caraway seeds with boiling water and leave for 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare a bain-marie: pour some 6 cm of water into a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, so the water is steaming, but not boiling, and put a heat-resistant bowl on top. Make sure the bottom of it doesn’t touch the water.
Cube the butter and add it to the prepared bowl. Stir quickly (ideally, use a wooden spoon), until the butter is almost melted (but not quite!).
Take the bowl off the steam and continue stirring.
Add a teaspoon of sour cream into the butter and keep stirring. By the way, always use the same spinning (rotary) motion. In Lithuanian, we don’t really make kastinys. We SPIN it.
Add another teaspoon of sour cream, spin, and repeat, until you have no sour cream left.
If at some point your sauce went from nice and shiny to ugly and coarse, put the bowl back on the steam until it’s back to the original condition.
Your end result should be a thick, shiny sauce that doesn’t stick to your bowl.
Once you’re done spinning, time to add the deliciousness: salt, pepper, garlic (very finely chopped), and caraway if using. And that’s it!