Spuds can make a filling, healthy meal

Chicken and potato pot is a delicious meal for the family on winter nights
Chicken and potato pot is a delicious meal for the family on winter nights

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The humble spud has never really gone out of fashion.

But as more home cooks look to keep their family food budget under control this year, our appetite for potatoes is only likely to increase.

Experts are predicting that shopping lists in 2012 may take on a more carb-friendly tone as we opt for filling meals made with cheaper, more familiar ingredients.

And the potato is surprisingly nutritious – with more Vitamin C in a portion of new potatoes than an apple and more fibre in a jacket potato than a bowl of bran flakes.

‘The potato is a great base for a meal and something people enjoy,’ agrees cookery teacher Barbara Crick.

‘It’s good fuel that won’t run out, especially when you cook the potato in its skin.

‘Potatoes are great for energy, people definitely should be eating them.’

Bake it, mash it or serve it up as wedges, there’s plenty you can do with a potato.

Barbara, who runs the Emsworth Cookery School, adds: ‘One thing I’ve been doing in my classes is making chilli chips. Slice the potato, cut it into wedges, drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Put them in the oven for an hour or so and you’ve got something better than oven chips.’

Hampshire-based chef James Martin is also helping to lead the charge.

The Saturday Kitchen presenter is heading the Many Faces Of Potatoes campaign and is responsible for finding a winning potato recipe to feature in a national TV advert this summer.

‘Potatoes are such an important part of British life,’ he explains. ‘They’re delicious, and easy to cook.

‘This competition not only offers people the chance to show off their skills, but it will also hopefully inspire more people to cook with the great British spud.’

To find out more about cooking potatoes, visit manyfacesofpotatoes.co.uk

Chicken and potato pot

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 small courgettes, thickly sliced

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

6 mini carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthways

6 mini-sweetcorns, cut in half lengthways

300ml chicken stock

50g tender-stem broccoli

Handful of fresh herbs – thyme, coriander and parsley (or you could use 1tsp dried mixed herbs)

1. In a large pan, heat the oil and add onion, garlic, courgettes and chicken.

2. Cook for three to four minutes before adding the carrots, corn, potatoes, stock and herbs.

3. Bring to the boil and fast simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on the pan.

4. Three minutes before the end of cooking, add the broccoli to the top of the pan to lightly steam.

3. Serve in deep bowls and take to the table.