Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Choose a floury variety of potato, such as a maris piper, Cara, or King Edward, and cut fairly small, egg size, if you like. Parboil in gently boiling salted water for 8 minutes – stop before the potatoes are cooked right through. Drain and leave to cool completely, then scratch roughly with a fork and season with a little fine salt.
Only roast the potatoes around the joint if there is plenty of fat in the tin – at least 5mm – and plenty of room. Better to preheat the oil (goose fat or lard if you have them, sunflower or groundnut oil if you don’t) in a separate tin, adding any fat from the roasting tin just before the spuds go in. Do not add the potatoes till the oil is sizzling hot. Baste or turn them carefully as soon as they go in the tin so that they are lightly coated with oil from the start.
Roast for the last 45 min of your joints cooking time, turning at least once. If they look as if they could use a bit more browning/crisping, leave them in after the joint has come out to rest and whack up the heat (for the Yorkshire puddings). Drain well and keep in a warm oven, uncovered and not too piled on top of each other. Season again with salt and pepper before serving.

So as it turns out, there are only 2 secrets to making the perfect roast potatoes. The first, is fuzzing up the outside. This recipe has you actually scratch them with a fork, others that I have seen have you bang them around in a pot till the edges get messed up a bit. The important thing is that the surface area be increased and made ragged, because that allows for maximum crispiness.
The second secret is, unfortunately, cooking them in goose fat. I hoped this was not the case, and I tried doing the same thing, but with oil instead. I have to admit, the goose fat potatoes wiped the floor with the healthier oil roasted ones. I’m not saying you should use goose fat in cooking all the time, but you gotta try it at least once, just to see the difference.
I got this recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book. Great book, great recipe, great potatoes.


Susie said...

Goose fat. Gotta try it someday. A new goal in life. Also, I am from the rough the potatoes up school. Bang them about twice with the lid on -- any more and you get mash.

AteThat said...

Actually, we just got an e-mail from a friend saying that where his brother lives in France, they cook everything in goosefat, and they live longer on average then the people in any other part of France. So now I'm working on the long-life-all-goosefat-diet plan.