This is one of the dishes that any self-respecting English national insists they know how to make. So this is for my reference rather than providing a definitive recipe for roast potatoes. I made these for Christmas dinner 2009, in the fat of the goose they accompanied. I parboiled them a day ahead, put them in the fridge, the next day let them warm up to room temperature, then dropped them into boiling hot goose fat. I believe they were extra fluffy as a result of cooling down and then warming up again. But that’s just my guess.
12 large roasting potatoes
goose fat or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Peel the potatoes and chop each one into four or five pieces, varying the shapes. Place in a large pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for seven minutes, until they are soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre (test with a knife).
Meanwhile, heat a large roasting-tin in the oven with some goose fat or olive oil and a few pinches of salt (the potatoes will take a bit longer to cook in olive oil as it does not get as hot). You want a film of fat over the bottom of the tin about 1-2mm deep. The fat must be very hot when the potatoes go in.
When the potatoes are sufficiently parboiled, drain them in a colander then gently shake them around to fluff them up. Let them sit and drain for a minute to remove as much water as possible. Take thetin out of the oven and carefully pour in the potatoes, stirring to coat them in hot fat.
Return the tin to the oven (this should coincide with the uncovering of the roast goose, turkey or beef) and roast for 20-30 minutes, so a really good, thick layer can form on the bottom of each potato, basting the sides if they look a bit dry. Don’t open the oven door too often. If possible, check on them through the window with a torch. Turn the potatoes over, and move them around int he tin so that they each have a stint in the hottest part near the edge. Roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes more. by now they should be looking pretty scrumptious, but it is down to personal taste as to how crispy you like them, and also how the turkey is coming along.
When the rest of the meal is ready, place the potatoes on kitchen paper to remove excess fat, sprinkle on a bit more salt and serve.