This lovely post was written by my husband, Sam, whose love for potatoes is eclipsed only by his appetite. – K
Every once in a while, you eat something that changes your life. Sometimes it’s dramatic like tasting a delicious tiramisu that sets you on a path for professional baking. But usually, it’s something much more normal that infuses good flavor with feeling. These feelings make food something more than caloric intake; it transports you to a friend, a relative, or time period without your consent. Just like the making of the memory, reliving it seems to happen just like dreaming. For me, roasted potatoes will be always that food.
I love potatoes: fried, mashed, baked, salad, soup, stews, roasted, even instant potatoes. If someone told me they’d have potatoes at a meal, I’d be there two hours early. But even I, potato connoisseur that I am, didn’t know about the British obsession with roasted potatoes.
Roasted potatoes are as British as the Queen having afternoon tea. Folks eat them on Sundays during their Sunday roast (the most popular dish in the UK in 2016), but they are delicious enough to have anytime.
It’s no surprise that the English take their potatoes seriously—this is the land of fish and chips after all—but they have a dizzying array of potato types for the uninitiated. For a normal American, shopping for potatoes in an English supermarket is like a teetotaler shopping for beer in a craft beer shop. You’ll want a potato that holds its shape during a long cooking process. The English use a potato called Maris Piper, but I’d never even heard of them before living here. A Yukon Gold or Russet potato should do the trick.
Your cooking fat depends on your personal tastes. Butter works well and gives the potatoes a slightly sweet flavor. Olive oil gives a lovely flavor reminiscent of chips (“crisps”). The traditional goose fat gives a deep, salty flavor.
Roasted potatoes give me that sense of truly living in England. For now, they taste great and remind me of my love for the potato. But I have no doubts that in the future, every time I eat roasties I’ll think back to our travels, friends, and time spent here in our little corner of this lovely island.
And if you end up making these, I hope you’ll think about us too.
If you like these Perfect British Roasted Potatoes, you might also like:
Perfect British Roasted Potatoes
- 2.5 lbs Maris Piper potatoes. Yukon Gold or Russet if you can't find Maris Piper
- 3 tbsp fat of choice: butter goose fat, or olive oil (not extra virgin) work well
- 2 garlic cloves unpeeled
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary or thyme removed from stalk
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Splash red wine vinegar
Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.
Bring large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into lime-sized pieces.
Boil the potatoes for about 7 minutes until the edges just start to look crumble-y. and rough. You can boil the potatoes for up to 30 minutes if you want extra creamy potatoes.
Drain potatoes in a colander. Toss about 5 times until the potatoes look fluffed on the surface (see photo) and transfer to a large bowl.
Gently toss the potatoes with your choice of fat with a large spoon (it's hot!). Salt and pepper liberally.
Turn the potatoes out onto your roasting tray in a single-layer. Set bowl aside.
Roast for 35-40 minutes until lightly golden-brown on the under-side.
While the potatoes are roasting, combine garlic, rosemary or thyme, olive oil, and red wine vinegar together in the bowl you set aside earlier.
After the initial 35-40 minutes, remove tray from oven and add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Toss potatoes or flip individually with tongs or spatula. Make sure the potatoes are coated in herbs and fat.
OPTIONAL: Drizzle extra 1/2 tbsp of fat over the potatoes to add flavor (and calories!).
Roast another 20-40 minutes until deep golden brown (depending on your oven). Check every 10 minutes.