I associate roast potatoes with special occasions such as a holiday dinner or a leisurely Sunday lunch. They seem like a special treat, but are not that difficult to make. As promised in a previous post, I am sharing my secret to perfect roast potatoes. I should say secrets, because there are several elements needed to achieve potatoes with a crispy, golden exterior and a dry, floury middle. First,it is essential to use a floury potato — that is, a potato that is good for mashing or baking. Russet potatoes are a good choice. Next, the potatoes should be as dry as possible before roasting. Do not leave them soaking in water before cooking and do not parboil them before roasting. This has led to family arguments — but I think the potatoes hold their shape better and are crispier if they are not parboiled. The potatoes should be cut into evenly sized pieces and dried before being placed in the fat. The fat should be heated before adding the potatoes to the roasting dish. The entire surface of the potatoes should be coated with fat at the start of roasting so they brown and crisp evenly. Duck fat is available at butchers, specialty grocers or online. It imparts a rich flavor to the potatoes, but you can certainly use lard, shortening or vegetable oil in its place.
- 4 russet or other floury potatoes
- 4 tbsps. duck fat (lard, shortening or vegetable oil can be substituted)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add duck fat to a roasting pan or dish. Place dish in the oven to heat the fat.
- Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into evenly sized pieces.
- Dry them thoroughly with a paper towel or clean dish (tea) towel.
- Remove dish with the heated fat from the oven. Add the potatoes to the dish and turn them over with a fork until each side of the potato is coated in fat. Return the dish to the oven.
- After 25 minutes turn the potatoes – the bottom of the potatoes should be golden brown – to brown the other side. Return to the oven for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.