Getting a great roast potato is a very personal thing – some like them ultra-crunchy, some like them a bit soft and others seem to like a mixture of both but for me there are three things that make for the ultimate roast potato. First – I like the skins left on, secondly I like to add some garlic, bay, thyme and black pepper to the cooking water at the boiling stage and lastly I like to use lard or beef dripping along with a little rape seed oil to enhance flavour and crispness.
You need to have your oven hot and any vents open to allow stream to leave the oven chamber otherwise the spuds will go soggy and never get crispy.
- 1kg good Maris Piper type potatoes – Estima are another good variety, anything will do at a push but a good floury variety that holds together as well is where you want to be. Scrub them well but do not peel them and then cut them into chunks.
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 bulb of garlic – cut horizontally through the middle
- a good sprig of fresh thyme
- 100g lard
- 20 ml rape seed oil
Place the potatoes in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring rapidly to the boil and add the herbs, garlic and peppercorns. Simmer until mostly tender then remove from the heat and drain well.
Whilst the potatoes are draining place the fat and oil in a large roasting dish and pop this in the oven to heat.
When the oil and fat are good and hot tip in the potatoes carefully and make sure they all get a good coating of the hot fat. Pop them back in the oven and roast for around 45 mins until crisp and golden – turning once or twice during that time.
Season well with a little salt and serve.
ESSE electric range cooker demonstration by Tim Maddams, private chef, writer, cookery teacher and presenter.