The flawless roast potato is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Forget the intricate creations of top chefs, if you can perfect the roast potato you will be deemed a culinary specialist by friends and family. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a good roast potato? No matter where in the world we have cooked them and we always made almost double the amount needed as they were so popular and believe me Lord Hanson being the Yorkshire man he was he really appreciated having roasties with a roast joint or bird.
I think there are four crucial points to making good roast potatoes.
1) Choosing a good floury potato, such as King Edward or Maris Piper
2) Parboiling the potato
4) And a good hot oven
Parboiling the potatoes before you roast them is what gives them that fluffy inside as they've already started to cook in the middle before they go in the oven. You don’t need to parboil them for long, you’re not cooking them through, just partly cooking them so that a knife will easily pierce them but not go right through.
When the potatoes are parboiled you drain them and then rough them up so that the edges aren’t as smooth, I drain them in a colander and rough them up inside it by shaking them about you could use a fork on each individual potato by scratching the surface all over.
The fat you use is the one thing that will make the biggest difference to your roast potatoes, the best fat is goose fat, this intense powerful fat makes your potatoes taste incredible it is available in tins at most good supermarkets and delis. I’m inclined to save this for exclusive occasions such as Christmas, you can also use duck fat or beef dripping, we have even been known to use a good bacon fat any of which will also make your potatoes taste fantastic. Then again, you could use olive oil but the end result won't be quite so good, there are other oils or fats you can use but these are the only ones we use.
No matter what your fat, put it in the roasting tray in a hot oven to heat it up before you add your potatoes make certain the fat is really hot; you want a nice sizzle when you add the potatoes. When I add the potatoes, I toss them around in the fat so that they get a good covering before putting them in the oven. The oven should be at a high temperature, at least 200c, but the higher the better. At 200c, they’ll take about an hour, depending on their size.
About halfway through the cooking time, when the bottoms of the potatoes sitting on the roasting tray are golden and crisp, turn them over.By using this method, you should become quite a celebrity chef within your own family and friends circle.