As we approach Christmas I am reviewing my processes and recipes for Christmas dinner.
A key staple of our lunch is roast potatoes. Firstly you need to use the right kind of potatoes. It’s not as simple as buying any kind, the cheapest or whatever. I go with King Edward or Maris Piper.
After peeling and cutting into chunks the potatoes are blanched in boiling water for about 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks. Now the size if dependent on how you like your roast potatoes and how long you have to cook them. Obviously smaller chunks means a shorter cooking time, whilst larger chunks though take longer are preferred by some people. We usually go with smaller chunks,
While the potatoes are being blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil and one of sunflower oil. The key here is to heat the pan and the oil. I put the pan into the hot oven (with the oil added) for at least five minutes, though I usually do ten minutes. I usually heat the oven when peeling the potatoes and then add the pan with oil while the potatoes are boiling.
After blanching the potatoes, drain and the key here is to let the heat dry the potatoes. If they go into the pan “wet” they won’t crisp up as well. The next stage is to slightly “bash” the potatoes by shaking the colander or sieve, this will aid the crisping process too. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning them and maybe a little more “bashing”.
You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp. Better to do two less crowded pans than one crowded one. I think this is critical for crisp potatoes.
Cooked for thirty to forty minutes (larger potatoes take longer). It is a good idea to turn the potatoes half way through to ensure a more even crispness. The end result should be tasty, crisp potatoes with a fluffy centre.
Ten minutes before end of cooking you can add some butter and rosemary for flavour.