Perfect roast potatoes should be crisp and golden on the outside, and soft inside. Cook them well ahead of time, then stick them in the oven when you are roasting meat or a chicken and they will reheat and crisp up beautifully. Leave the skins on or off – peeled potatoes are more traditional but the skins have such flavour and texture and are full of fibre that we often leave them on. Why not serve them with our Roast Chicken with Tarragon and Vanilla Sauce?
2kg potatoes, peeled or skin-on (use a floury variety such as Maris Pipers or King Edwards)
Olive oil, lard, groundnut oil or goose fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.
1. Put a few tablespoons of oil or goose fat in a large baking dish and place in the oven to heat.
2. Cut the potatoes into medium-sized chunks. Boil the potatoes in lots of salted water until they are soft on the outside but not cooked (about 10-12 minutes for large chunks, about 3-5 minutes for smaller chunks). Drain well, and shake them in the pan over a low heat to dry them out. If you are cutting larger chunks, score them well with a fork all round (this is what makes them really crispy).
3. Carefully pull the baking dish out onto the oven door, and place the potatoes in the oil gently so they don’t splash. Turn to coat in the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20-40 minutes depending on whether the size of the potato, chunks turning once or twice during cooking. Season with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving.
– To save time, parboil the potatoes in advance, drain well, cover with cling film and store in the fridge. To cook, them heat the oil and pop them gently in the hot oil and continue the recipe.
– Add a sprig of rosemary to the baking dish for rosemary potatoes; add a few quarters of lemon for lemon potatoes and toss in whole unpeeled cloves of garlic for garlic potatoes. Or add everything for lemony rosemary and garlic potatoes! Make sure to coat everything in oil and to score the potatoes with a fork to make those crusty bits.
– You really need to be careful and drain the potatoes really well. Bash them about in the dry pan to rough them up if you haven’t time to score them with a fork. Oil and water don’t mix so they need to dry out before they hit the oil.
LEFTOVER POTATO ROASTIE TIP
Leftover roast potatoes can be fried with chorizo and served with a fried egg. Fry the chorizo first to render the fat, scoop up the chorizo pieces and set aside leaving the oil behind. Add the chopped roast potatoes and fry until warm. Fry the egg in another frying pan, place the potatoes on a plate, sprinkle over the warm chorizo and top with the egg. Add some Espelette pepper or a splash of hot sauce to spice it up.
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