Roast potatoes are my favourite part of Christmas dinner. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and the perfect vehicle for gravy and other sauces, roast potatoes are the unsung heroes of the culinary world. Despite the very short list of ingredients and the one-pan nature of this side dish, they can be a little tricky to get right. Roast potatoes always need longer than you think to go brown on the outside, but too long and they can start to catch and become tough. It's a fine balance, but one that you can definitely get right!
My top tips for getting perfect roast potatoes every time are:
- Buy a new roasting tray - if you don't have the fanciest cooking equipment, like me, it's worth investing in a new roasting tray just for Christmas. The non-stick can wear off after a while, which makes potatoes more difficult to cook, as they get stuck to the bottom.
- Use goose fat - I usually don't bother and just use whatever cooking oil we have available, but when it's Christmas it's worth going the extra mile to make your potatoes extra delicious!
- Cut them quite small - the smaller they are, the faster they'll cook. Whilst you don't want mini potatoes, you don't want massive chunks either. Try to make sure they're all a relatively uniform size so you don't have some cooking quickly and others taking forever to brown.
- Cook at 200C - the hotter the better! You'll know your oven better than me, but we have a standard fan oven and this is always the best temperature to cook them. Don't forget to check back on Monday to find out how to juggle all of your dishes and get everything on the table at the same time!
- Pre-heat the fat - whether you're using goose fat or oil, make sure it's hot before the potatoes go in! Just stick the tray with a good coating of fat into the oven to warm up whilst you're peeling and chopping - but do be careful when adding the potatoes, as you don't want to accidentally splash hot fat onto you!
- Season - use your salt & pepper liberally!
- Cook for 20 minutes & then shuffle! Let your roasties get going and then give them a good shuffle in the pan. Use a spatula if they get a little stuck, and don't worry too much if they stay intact.
- Get mashing! A gentle mash with a potato masher with fluff up the edges of your roast potatoes, giving them more surface area to go crispy. This is an optional stage, but a good one!
- Add some flavour - just before you throw the potatoes back in the oven, lob in a few whole garlic cloves (no need to peel) and some rosemary for a little bit of extra flavour. Lovely!
- Let them be - once you've done all your messing about, leave them in the oven for AT LEAST 25 more minutes, if not longer. Give yourself plenty of time so that they are at their best - this can take up to an hour or more so don't panic if yours are still looking a little pale after 45 minutes.
- Whack the heat up - if all else fails and everything else is ready to be served, whack the heat up as high as it will go for a final five minutes and this should finish them off!
Have you got any roast potato tips?