The Perfect Roast Potato

A classic recipe from Rosemary Shrager for the perfect roast potato, full of the delicious flavours of garlic, thyme and rosemary and delightfully crisp with a fluffy centre.

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Introduction

Who doesn’t love roast potatoes? They are a simple dish but it’s surprisingly tricky to get them just right – crispy on the outside and deliciously fluffy inside. The most important thing is to get the fat really hot to crisp up the outsides of the potatoes. Timing is crucial – they shouldn’t be kept hanging about – so while your meat is resting is the ideal time for finishing the potatoes. Roast potatoes also need plenty of seasoning, so be generous and try sprinkling them with sesame or poppy seeds for a change.

Serves 6

Ingredients

150g goose fat
8 large floury potatoes (such as King Edwards or Albert Bartlett Roosters)
6 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 thyme sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
flaked sea salt

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 240°C/Fan 220°C/Gas 9. Put the goose fat in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven while you peel the potatoes. The fat needs to be really hot.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters, trying to make sure they are roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Put them in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 5–10 minutes – this will just start cooking the outside of the potatoes. Drain the potatoes well in a colander, then give them a good shake to fluff up the outsides – this helps them go crispy.

3. Once the potatoes are ready, carefully remove the roasting tin from the oven and place it on the hob over a medium heat. Lower the oven temperature to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7.

4. Gently lower the potatoes into the hot goose fat. The potatoes should sizzle as soon as they hit the fat. Then gently brown them in the hot fat until they are golden brown on all sides.

5. Add the garlic and herbs to the tin and put it back into the oven for 15–20 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and gently turn the potatoes over using a slotted spoon. (Be very careful with them at this stage, as you don’t want to break them up.) Put the potatoes back in the oven and cook for another 15–20 minutes.

6. By this time the potatoes should be golden brown and crispy. If you feel they need a little more colour, gently turn them again and put them back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until the desired colour and texture is reached.

7. When the potatoes are done to your liking, remove them from the hot fat with a slotted spoon and put them on some kitchen paper or a cloth to remove any excess fat. Tip them into a warm dish and season with flaked sea salt – flakes are best as they stick to the hot potatoes. Serve at once.

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