Approx cost: €1
Approx calories (per serving): ~300
Approx preparation and cooking time: ~100 minutes
After reading the posts about the amazing looking roast dinner (seriously, look at that roast beef – it looks incredible!) to celebrate the British Royal Wedding from Kristy of Eat, Play, Love, I realised that despite having various recipes for roasted this and that on my site I had never posted my own take on roast potatoes. I was spoiled on roast potatoes from an early age by my grandmother – an immensely kind, caring woman whom I regret not having had the chance to see more of towards the end of her life – she moved to the north of England to be close to her remaining family and of course I live in France which renders the idea of just “popping over for a cup of tea” impossible.
Whenever we were there she would produce phenomenal quantities of hearty, traditional cooking and I have very fond memories of visiting her home, eating an enormous dinner, and then being served up about 4 different choices of dessert. Being Scottish, she also made something called a Clootie Dumpling from time to time, which, despite the odd appearance, is actually unbelievably good. Perhaps the food item she was most “famous” for in my family for being the roast potato queen. Her roast potatoes were, unfailingly, the epitome of perfection.
There are some things which I believe make a roast potato “perfect”:
- Outside should be a crisp, golden shell, which should stay crisp, even after sitting on the plate for a while and being doused with gravy
- Inside should be fluffy – not spongey or solid (like the consistency of a new potato)
I’ve been practising for years – oh how I’ve been practising, tweaking the recipe each time, and last night, I think – I think – that I hit the jackpot. You have to get the right kind of potato, and the right kind of fat and then, hopefully, you’ll get the result you’re after.
So here it is – a little tribute to my grandmother, whom we miss a great deal. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to perfect something that she could do easily each and every time!
- Enough potatoes for 2 people, aroung 400g :: Preferably of the variety King Edward or Désirée :: floury consistency and perfect for roasting!
- 1 heaped tbsp Goose Fat (You can buy it from specialty stores, or if you have a goose for Christmas as I did, you can save the fat and render it yourself and then store it in a clean jar – keeps for 6 months in the refrigerator, 1 year in the freezer)
- Salt Flakes
- First, take a suitably sized roasting tin (it should be big enough for about twice the volume of potatoes as you actually have, but not too big), add the goose fat (or replace with sunflower oil) and place into the oven at around 160 degrees Celsius. Move onto peeling the potatoes, removing any eyes and bruises. Cut the potatoes into pieces. It’s important not to cut them too small – It’s personal preference but small potatoes aren’t really suitable for roasting. I believe all good roast potatoes should have a flat side and a rounded side, so cut huge potatoes into maybe 6 pieces, medium potatoes cut lengthways down the middle to make two, if you have only smaller ones, cut a smaller strip off the bottom to make a flat bottom. Rinse the potato pieces and then place into a bowl of cold, salted water for around 1 – 2 hours.
- Place a large pan of water on the stove to boil and then place the potato pieces into the boiling water. Set a timer and boil them for about 5 or 6 minutes. You want to make sure that only the outside is soft – they should still be firm in the middle, or else the next step is going to completely wreck them! After the 5 or 6 minutes is over, drain the water and crush some salt flakes onto potatoes. Cover the pan with a lid. Grab the handle and shake it as violently as you can (careful it doesn’t fly out of your hands and smash something). They’ll all bash against each other and the salt and the surface will flour up. This floury surface will act like a sponge and suck up all the hot fat when you transfer them to the roasting pan.
- Speaking of the roasting pan, the fat inside it should, by now, be really hot. It has to be hot. One of the easiest ways to fail at roast potatoes is to add the potatoes into oil or fat which is just too cool. 15-20 minutes in a hot oven should be enough to bring it up to a good temperature, but keep an eye on it as well, to make sure it doesn’t get “too” hot (a.k.a catching fire!). Transfer the potatoes into the roasting pan (they should sizzle when you place them in) and turn quickly in the fat using a spoon. Replace the tin into the oven and lower the temperature slightly, to around 140 degrees Celsius.
- Cook like this, turning the potatoes in the oil every 15 minutes or so, for about 60 – 70 minutes. When the potatoes are starting to turn a nice golden brown then you need to turn the oven up as high as it will go – seriously … that thing should be like a volcano inside. Cook the potatoes in this higher heat until they reach the desired golden colour, remove and enjoy. I sincerely hope you have good roasting luck!