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The best roast potatoes
The best roast potatoes
Cook's notesWhen using plain sunflower oil, you will really taste the potato, while goose fat is good but will bring its own flavour. If by any chance you have leftover roasties, they can be put to good use in a thrifty kitchen. They can transform into a clumsy bubble and squeak with a few wilted greens; or, chopped and fried, they’ll form the backbone of a breakfast hash, alongside some onions, mushrooms, spinach and a fried egg to finish.
- 1kg potatoes (ideally Sorrento, King Edward or Maris Piper), peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3-4 tbsp sunflower oil or goose fat, as you prefer
- sea salt
Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 1h 15 min
Step 1It seems obvious, but make sure you cut your potatoes into similar-sized pieces after peeling, to ensure that they all cook evenly. Nothing too large or too small; two good bites is about right.
Step 2Put them into a pan of cold water and season generously with salt. Don’t underestimate how well potatoes soak up seasoning; it means that the final roasty it will be seasoned throughout. Aromatics such as garlic, bay and thyme can be added to the water at this point, and can have a noticeable impact on the final flavour, too.
Step 3Bring to the boil and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes from when the water starts to boil (test by inserting a sharp knife). Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200˚C/Gas 6; they’ll suffer if you start them from cold.
Step 4Drain the potatoes and let them steam dry in your colander for 10 minutes or so. Shake them a little so the edges start to fluff up. This helps give a crispier surface and avoid aggressive spitting when they’re added to the hot oil.
Step 5While the potatoes steam dry, add the oil or fat to a roasting tray and put it in the oven to heat up. You want it hot enough that the spuds sizzle when they are tipped in.
Step 6Add the potatoes to the pan with a good pinch of salt. Give them a turn to coat with oil. Make sure the roasting tray isn’t crowded; the best spuds need good contact with the bottom of the tray and a little space to crisp and colour. Better to have fewer perfect potatoes than a mountain of bad ones.
Step 7Now roast them for 25-30 minutes. Don’t pester and peek at them while they cook. Give them a quick shuffle and a turn, and then return them to the oven for a further 20 mins or so, until crisp and golden.