The perfect roast potato is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Forget the complex creations of top chefs, if you can master the roast potato you will be considered a culinary expert by friends and family. After all, who doesn’t love a good roast potato?
I believe there are 4 keys to making really good roast potatoes. They are:
- Choosing a floury potato, such as King Edward or Maris Piper
- Proper fat, by which I mean goose or duck fat or beef dripping, which is sizzling hot when the pototoes go in
- A hot oven
Parboiling the potatoes before you roast them is what gives them that fluffy inside as they’ve already started to cook in the middle before they go in the oven. You don’t need to parboil them for long – you’re not cooking them through, just partly cooking them so that a knife will easily pierce them but not go right through.
When the potatoes are parboiled drain them and rough them up so that the edges aren’t as smooth. I drain them in a colander and rough them up inside it by shaking them about.
The fat you use is the one thing that will make the biggest difference to your roast potatoes. The optimum fat is goose fat. This rich fat makes your potatoes taste amazing. I tend to save this for special occasions such as Christmas. You can also use duck fat or beef dripping, both of which will also make your potatoes taste great. Alternatively you can use olive oil.
Whatever your fat or oil, put it in the roasting tray in a hot oven to heat it up before you add your potatoes. Make sure it’s really hot, you want a nice sizzle when you add the potatoes. When I add the potatoes I toss them around in the fat so that they get a covering before putting them in the oven.
The oven should be at a high temperature, at least 200c, preferably 225c. At 200c they’ll take about an hour, depending on their size.
About halfway through the cooking time, when the bottoms of the potatoes sitting on the roasting tray are golden and crisp, turn them over.