Saturday, January 8, 2011

Roasted Potatoes-My New Favorite Food

Now, I realize that potatoes (in any form) are a go-to food for many, many people: roasted, mashed, boiled, fried...But, oddly enough, until I moved to London, potatoes for me were my 'eh' veg; I don't mind potatoes, but I just felt that there were other, more worthy-and good for you-veg that I'd rather eat.

Well, no more! Admittedly, I do think french fries (chips) here are outstanding-and I have consumed well more of them in the past 3 years in London than likely the past 10 years in the US. And, since Simon & I moved in together two years ago, mashed potatoes have become a go-to veg for me as Simon isn't as in to vegetables as I am.

But, for Christmas this year, I decided to make traditional Roasted Potatoes.  I used the recipe of Simon's best friend, Herbie (I think it's actually his granny's recipe...), as I'd had Herbie's roast potatoes once previously and they were delish.  I was trying to make our Christmas dinner as 'British' as possible, and roasted potatoes seemed the way to go.  Since Christmas, I've made them 3 times more-twice this past week alone.  I can't seem to get enough of these things!  Which, is somewhat a pity-I know the reason they're so yummy is because they're roasted in goose fat.  Not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but I can't help it!  So, in the spirit of sharing, if any of you have any goose fat just 'hanging about' the house, you may want to put it to some good use-direct from Herbie:

1) make sure you buy the right potatoes - King Edwards are the best  [I honestly don't know if King Edwards are readily available in the US; if not, get a 'waxy' potato...]

2) peel and cut the pots into reasonably large pieces (too small and they will break when you par-boil them), think about the size in-between a squash ball and a tennis ball.

3) par boil the pots in salty water for about 7mins. They should be getting soft but not yet breaking up

4) drain the pots and put them back in the dry pan over the heat to get rid of excess moisture...give them a really good shake in the pan while you do this to fluff up the edges of the pots as this will add crispiness when they are roasted. You can add dusting of flour or semolina at this point for extra crunch [I have added about 2 Tbsp of flour every time I've made them and can say it is well worth it!]

5) pre-heat a large roasting tray with about 1cm/2cm depth of oil. Goose fat is best (adds flavour), or lard. Don't use olive oil as it burns too easily. (set oven at high temperature for this)

6) when the oil is spitting hot carefully add your pots one by one and swill around so they get covered with the oil. you can drain off any excess oil if the pots are swimming in it.

7) put in the oven and leave for anywhere between 45mins and 1hour. Make sure you work out all your other timings to the pots. You should plate up your meat and veg and have gravy ready so you take out the pots last and immediately serve them. Trust best because it stops them from going soggy. Alternatively you can take them out, roll them around a bowl lined with kitchen roll to remove excess fat, then put into a large semi-heated serving bowl and then bring to the table. Don't whatever you do leave the pots in the oven to 'rest' at a lower temp-they will lose their crispiness.
I've been cooking the potatoes on 220 C, which is about 425 degrees F, and that seems to be a good temp for our oven.
Happy potato roasting!


  1. Anything with goose fat or lard wins in my book!

  2. You are my hero. Roasted potatoes make anything better... especially English roasted potatoes.

  3. I can never understand why English roast potatoes aren't the world favourite.
    Just for information : you don't want "waxy", you want "floury". In the USA, idaho reds are perfect.

  4. That's really helpful to know, Greg. I was actually contemplating making some for the holidays & didn't know what to search for since King Edwards don't seem to be available here!