Roast potatoes

Roast potatoes

By
From
Leiths How to Cook
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 large floury potatoes
75g duck fat
or 3 tablespoons oil, plus 30 g unsalted butter
salt

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut into 4–5 cm chunks. Place them in a saucepan and add enough salted cold water to just cover. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Test with a cutlery knife; it should pass easily through the outer 1 cm of potato flesh.
  3. Meanwhile, put the duck fat in a large roasting tin and heat it in the oven while the potatoes are simmering.
  4. Drain the potatoes well and let them steam-dry in the pan for 2–3 minutes. Once dried, shake them well in the pan to break up the outside. The crumblier the outside the crisper the potatoes will be. Do not allow the potatoes to get cold.
  5. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and carefully add the hot potatoes to the hot fat. Give them plenty of space; overcrowding them means they will steam, not roast. The potatoes should sizzle vigorously. Turn them in the hot fat and season with salt. Return the tin to the oven and roast for 50–60 minutes, turning and basting the potatoes every 10–15 minutes to ensure even colouring.
  6. The potatoes should be golden and crisp on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside. They are ready when a cutlery knife inserted into the middle of a potato passes through easily. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

Note

  • Roast potatoes can be lightly browned and taken out of the oven up to 2 hours in advance. Return them to the top shelf of the oven to finish browning 30 minutes before serving. This can help when trying to get all the elements of a roast ready at once.

Variations

  • Roast new potatoes: New potatoes can be roasted in their skins. Wash and scrub them well and coat them in a little olive oil. Roast them in the top third of the oven at 200ºC for 40–50 minutes, or until they ‘give’ when pressed firmly.

    New potatoes baked en papillote: Turn 500 g new potatoes in 1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil. Add 2 bashed garlic cloves, a few thyme or rosemary sprigs and some salt and pepper. Encase in an en papillote case and bake in the oven at 200ºC for 45–50 minutes. They are cooked when the potatoes ‘give’ when pressed through the greaseproof paper and the paper is very brown.

    Roast sweet potatoes: Wash, scrub and dry 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes. Cut them into 4 cm chunks, leaving the skins on. Turn them in 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tip them onto a baking tray (lining this with baking parchment saves washing up later). Bake in the top third of the oven at 200ºC for about 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden on the outside and a cutlery knife inserted into the middle of a potato passes through easily.
Tags:
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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