Having made many versions of roast potatoes I have found those made with goose fat are the best tasting (see the end of this post on using your own goose fat). However, you are not limited to using goose fat for these potatoes: I have listed several other types of oil and fat to use, and my personal experience in the quality of roast potatoes produced.
Note: There are also two other ingredients needed to lift the humble roast potato on to a new level, this happens when the potato absorbs some of the fat at the end of roasting, the two ingredients are fresh rosemary and garlic – both add a very subtle taste when added in at the last minute, barely noticeable, but nevertheless essential.
Roast Potato Recipe
Fat and Oil Choices: in order of flavour and quality of roast potato results:
- Goose Fat – the recipe in the photos uses goose fat: see below for details
- Olive Oil (vegetarian)
- Duck Fat
- 1/2 vegetable oil 1/2 lard
- Vegetable oil (vegetarian)
Potatoes: When buying potatoes any good variety will do, (regardless of what people say, it is the quality of potato, not the variety you need to look out for). Try to buy each potato individually, so they are all the same quality and roughly all the same size. Look for firm, waxy potatoes, not long dug out of the ground, which have a low water content. Buy them at a reasonably large size, so when they are peeled and cut up they will have many edges to them, and also so they will be big enough not to disintegrate after par-boiling.
- 1.5 kg of Potatoes (peeled and par boiled for 15 minutes)
- keep the peelings from the potatoes (put them in a muslin bag and tie off)
- fat or oil of your choice (enough to fill the roasting tray to a depth of just under 1cm)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp sea salt (ground)
- 1.5 litres of water with 15g sea salt
Tip: These potatoes can be happily roasted alongside meat or a roast bird in the oven, the oven temperature is normally around 180C to 200C for both: they need around 60 minutes.
Take 4 cloves of garlic, no need to peel them, and roughly strip the leaves from two large sprigs of rosemary: reserve for later.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly, drain off the water, and then peel them. Reserve these potato peelings, shake off any excess water and tie the peelings in a clean muslin cloth. Re-wash the peeled potatoes under some clean running water to get rid of any surface starch, then drain.
Cut the potatoes into similar sized large quarters, to get plenty of neat, angular edges: don’t be afraid to keep the potatoes quite large, with smaller potatoes only being cut in half.
Bring a pan of salted water (15g sea salt in 1.5 litres of water) to the boil. Add the potatoes and the bag of peelings – the potato peelings are kept and added because they contain lots of flavour.
Par Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes (this is a long par boil) with the cloth bag of potato peelings.
Preheat the oven to 190C
Once the potatoes are soft, after 15 minutes, drain them in a colander and discard the bag of peelings. Give the colander a gentle shake, which will roughen up the edges and break the potatoes up so they can absorb the fat (or oil) when roasting. Allow the potatoes to steam for a few minutes to dry off completely – do not add wet potatoes to hot fat.
When the potatoes are drying add the roasting fat (or pour the oil) into a roasting tray – the tray needs to be large enough to hold all the potatoes in one layer – and place this tray of fat (or oil) in the oven to heat it up. The layer of fat (or oil) needs to be just under 1cm.
After five minutes, when the oil in the roasting tray is very hot, carefully use a slotted spoon to put the potatoes in the roasting tray and then carefully roll them around so that they are completely coated in oil – do not splash yourself with the hot oil.
Roast the potatoes for an hour at 190C until crisp and a lovely golden brown, turning them twice in the fat or oil:
1. 20 mins: Take the potatoes out of the oven after 20 minutes and using a slotted spoon turn the potatoes in the hot fat and baste them, then put them back in the oven.
2. 40 mins: Turn the potatoes in the fat after 40 minutes and baste them, adding in the garlic and rosemary.
Adding the garlic and rosemary after 40 minutes gives just twenty minutes of roasting to impart a gentle flavour.
With ten minutes to go check the roast potatoes for colour: turn the oven up to 230C if they need an extra boost in colour and crispyness.
After an hour remove the roasting tray from the oven and use a slotted spoon to turn out the potatoes onto a serving dish and season with ground sea salt and serve.
USING GOOSE FAT
You can buy jars of goose fat (particularly around Christmas and Thanksgiving) especially to roast your potatoes with, however this is very expensive. Far more economical is to roast your own Goose: Roast Goose Recipe: and then drain off and clarify your own goose fat. This way you can make enough small pots of goose fat to last you for 4 to 6 special occasions during the year – goose fat can be kept in the freezer for over 12 months.
Not only do you get to eat a fabulous roast goose, and have enough goose fat to roast several trays of roast potatoes (or parsnips etc.) but you know where the fat comes from (a quality free-range goose) and you can be sure of its integrity.
How to make your own goose fat for roasting potatoes with:
1. Roast a goose: Roast Goose Recipe:
2. At stages during the roasting remove the goose from the oven and pour off the excess goose fat from the bottom of the tray – be careful the fat will be hot. I always pour the fat into a large heat-proof bowl through a fine sieve to catch any bits from the roasting tray, although you can sieve the fat after if you want.
3. From a 4kg goose I sieved off nearly 1 litre of goose fat: when clarified it was about 600ml worth.
4. After pouring the goose fat into a heat-proof bowl the fat will start to rise and the heavier impurities (natural goose and vegetable compounds from the roasting tray) will start to sink – you can see this happening after about ten minutes. When the goose fat has sufficiently cooled put it in the fridge over night, undisturbed.
5. The next day the white fat on top will have completely cleared and be sitting on top of a goose jelly. The fat will also have hardened while being cooled. This hard white goose fat is easy enough to scoop off and put into several small tubs.
6. Fill each tub with several cm of goose fat, enough to melt into 1cm of fat in a roasting tray. Put the lid on and keep in the freezer until needed.
7. The brown goose jelly should be re-heated and then passed through a muslin cloth. This wonderful goose stock can then be used in sealing game pies or in making a fantastic game soup.