I do like roast potatoes and after trying many different varieties and techniques I believe I have now got a repeatable recipe and process for perfect 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 have in the past used King Edward potatoes which have worked, but more recently I have found Maris Piper to be a better choice. However this time I went with King Edward (as that was all that was available in the shop, well there were other varieties, but no 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 poatoes 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.
While the potatoes are blanched, place the roasting tray into the oven, with a good splash of olive oil. Now you can use goose fat, and I have done in the past, but I am now using olive oil. You could use sunflower oil. I avoid butter generally because it burns and adds a bitter taste. 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, not too long though. So I put it in about 2-3 minutes before I drain them. 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 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 could add some flavouring, fresh sprigs of rosemary works well. You should also ensure that the potatoes are not too crowded, in other words they need air to be crisp.
Cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the chunks, if you have parmentier sized chunks cooking time could be as low as 20 minutes. 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.