Roast potatoes are all about crunchy, crispy outsides, and soft flaky insides. However, there is more than simply peeling them and bunging them in the oven and hoping for the best.
Choose the right kind of potato to start with. My absolute favorites are King Edward potatoes, as I seem to be able to get just the right texture every time. If you can't get hold of King Edwards, look for other floury potatoes, such as Desiree or Maris Piper.
The other secret to great roast potatoes is the pre-cooking. Boil and shake well! If needs be, score with a fork to give the outsides the texture they need to crisp up.
Finally, the other essential is the right oil. Goose fat is perfect, but failing that, choose groundnut oil or sunflower oil. To tolerate the heat of the oil, you also need a really solid-bottomed roasting pan.
To make perfect roast potatoes:
1: Heat the oven to 190ÂºC/170ÂºC (fan ovens) or gas mark 5. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half â€“ smaller if they are very large, or leave whole if they are small. My ideal size is about 3inches x 2 inches.
2: Add to a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and boil for 4 minutes. Drain and either return to the pan, cover with a lid and shake well to fluff up, or score with a fork. Sprinkle with a light dusting of plain flour.
3: Use a large, heavy bottomed roasting tray. Tip in enough fat/oil to form a 1/2 CM/ 3/4 Inch layer and heat in the oven. When the oil is sizzling, carefully add the potatoes. If your pan is sturdy, do this over your hob, on a medium heat. Be sure to cover all the sides of the potatoes with oil â€“ a silicone brush can help with this.
4: Roast at the top of the oven for 20 minutes, then turn over, being careful not to tear the bottoms and get them stuck to the tray. Again, this can be done on the stovetop to keep the oil hot if your pan is sturdy enough. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, they should take another 5-20 minutes to finish cooking.
5: Tip onto kitchen roll and drain well. Serve either in a pre-warmed serving dish, uncovered (covering them will make them go soggy), or directly onto the plates.
The result? Perfect, fluffy crispy roast potatoes that are a welcome addition to any table. These are great for special occasions, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, and an ideal accompaniment to Perfect Roast Turkey. Alternatively, you could try something completely different, with a perfect potato gratin.
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