Modern farming methods have not been kind to the humble potato. Intensively cultivated for high yield and fast growth, it’s been bred into staggering blandness, with generic offerings of ‘red’ and ‘white’ potatoes. We grow our potatoes slowly, choose our varieties judiciously and encourage you to savour their flavour and not consign them to use as a bulking item on your plate.
roast potatoes with lemon, rosemary and thyme
serves 6 as a side
Crisp and caramelised from roasting, tart and tangy from the lemons, this variation on traditional roast potatoes makes a particularly good side for chicken or fish, accompanied by a bitter leaf salad.
1.5kg fairly waxy potatoes (such as Marfona, Orla or Triplo), washed but not peeled, cut into halves or quarters, depending on size
2 lemons, cut into thick slices, plus an extra ½ lemon to finish
7–8 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly smashed
4 rosemary sprigs
6 thyme sprigs
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Put the potatoes into a pan of cold salted water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and let dry in a colander for a few minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan and scatter over the lemon slices, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle over the oil and toss together with your hands, making sure each potato is coated in oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 35–40 minutes, turning everything once or twice, until the lemons are starting to caramelise and the potatoes are golden brown. Squeeze over the extra lemon half, sprinkle with a little more salt and serve immediately.
* Small waxy potatoes such as pink fir apples and Charlottes can be halved lengthways, tossed with oil and salt and roasted from raw at 180°C/Gas 4.
* Toss the potatoes with a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard before roasting for more of a zing.
serves 6 as a side
Creamy or crusty? Waxy or floury potatoes? Everyone has their personal preference and there is certainly more than one way to make gratin dauphinois. The question of how to cook an authentic version was apparently so aggressively contested that Charles de Gaulle held a competition to determine the definitive recipe. Riverford Cook Anna learned this method from a Parisian chef, who assured her it was the real deal!
700ml whole milk
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1kg medium all-rounder potatoes, peeled and cut lengthways into 4–5mm thick slices
200ml double cream
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and grease a gratin or shallow ovenproof dish (about 15 x 20cm) with half the butter. Put the milk, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large pan and slowly bring to the boil. Add the potatoes, return to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until half cooked. Using a slotted spoon, lift the potatoes from the milk into the dish. Discard the milk (or save it for another purpose). Shake the dish to distribute the potatoes evenly. Pour the cream over the potatoes and dot with the remaining butter. Bake uncovered for about an hour, until the potatoes are tender and a golden crust has formed. To make it easier to cut, let the gratin cool slightly before serving.
For something slightly less rich, layer the potatoes with 1 very finely sliced onion or leek and a few thyme leaves in a well-buttered gratin dish, seasoning each layer. Pour over 300ml chicken or veg stock (or a mix of half milk and half stock), dot with a little butter and bake for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through. The top should be a little crispy, but if it is getting too brown before the potatoes are cooked, cover it loosely with foil.
rosemary & sherry baked chicken with saffron potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken pieces – use a mix of thighs & drumsticks
knob of butter
900g potatoes, peeled & thickly sliced (1-2cm)
small pinch of saffron threads
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
6 sprigs rosemary
4 bay leaves, roughly torn
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200ml medium-dry sherry
sea salt & ground black pepper
small handful toasted flaked almonds (optional)
Heat the oil in a large shallow heat and flameproof casserole (or use a frying pan and transfer to a baking dish). Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Melt the butter in the same pan. Add the potatoes, saffron, paprika, rosemary, bay and garlic. Toss together. Lie the chicken pieces on top of the potatoes and pour over the sherry. Season. Bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven. Bake at 180°C for 45 mins, until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender. Sprinkle over the almonds if using.
celeriac & potato mash
Cook as you would mashed potato but add one 1/3 to 2/3 as much celeriac as potato. The celeriac cooks faster and so should be added once the potatoes have come to the boil. Great with sausages and savoy cabbage or cavalo nero.
parsnip & potato cakes
350g potatoes, peeled & diced
700g parsnips, peeled & diced
oil for frying
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed or finely chopped
knob of butter, about 20g
4 tbsp milk
a good grating of fresh nutmeg
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1-2 eggs, beaten
120g fresh breadcrumbs
In a pan of salted boiling water, cook the potatoes, then the parsnips, until just tender (the potatoes will take about 10 mins, parsnips about 7). Drain. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry for a few mins until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of mins. Put the potatoes, parsnips, butter, milk and nutmeg in a large bowl and season, then mash together before stirring in the onion and parsley. Set aside until cool. Put the eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Take about 1 tablespoon of the potato/parsnip mix and use your hands to press it into a pattie shape. Dip it in the egg and then the breadcrumbs to coat and repeat until all the mixture is used. Add a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and fry the cakes, in batches, until golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven until you are ready to serve.
For more ideas for a Christmas rich in veg, download our seasonal booklet full of recipes and tips from our Riverford cooks and you, our customers. Available to download here: www.riverford.co.uk/christmas-veg.