Some people might say roast potaotes are the most important part of Christmas. We wouldn't disagree
Do you get roast potato envy in gastro pubs? Wonder how they make them so crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside? Read on, reader.
Choosing the right tatties
Some potatoes are floury in texture, others are waxy. Some are perfect for boiling and mashing, while others make lovely jackets. In the same way, there are some varieties that are failsafe when it comes to roasting.
Floury potatoes (meaning they’re soft and dry in texture), such as Maris Piper or King Edward are the best type for making roasties. They’re fluffy when cooked, which allows the outside to crisp up to perfection.
Prep with parboiling
Parboiling means boiling to start but not finish the cooking process. Start by peeling the potatoes and chopping them all to the same size – about 2 inches on each side is a good guide.
Put them in a pan with enough cold, salted water to cover them, set your kitchen timer to 10 minutes, then bring them to the boil.
Reduce the heat slightly so that they don’t boil over, but continue to cook them at a rapid simmer until the timer goes off.
Drain them thoroughly and return to the pan, then either rough up the edges with a fork or give them a good shake with the lid on. This will give you that lovely, crispy finish when they’re cooked.
Ready for the roast
Dollop a dessert spoon of goose fat or your chosen oil (rapeseed, sunflower or ground nut perform best at high temperatures) into a baking tray, season it with sea salt and black pepper, and heat in a hot oven for five minutes.
Remove carefully from the oven and put the potatoes in, turning them in the fat/oil to coat completely. Then put the tin back in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes until they’re crisp and golden.
Put the roasted potatoes into a bowl lined with kitchen paper and let the excess oil drain off before serving.
For something a little different
Try one of these tasty ways to do tatties…
You can make your own variations, too, by throwing in a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves, roasting the potatoes in half-and-half oil and butter or flavouring them by using goose fat.
Want to be super-organised?
If you want to get ahead, cool the parboiled and drained potatoes, then toss in oil, season and put in a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until you need them. Then simply go straight to the roasting part – no need to bring them up to room temperature first.
For a different texture of crunch, coat the parboiled potatoes in oil and flour or polenta before roasting.