Well, we are winding through the bitter bones of Winter and it seems like Spring is trying to be sprung. It may even have managed it in some corners of the hemisphere.
In my little neck of the woods, there is an undeniable lightening of the evenings and some lovely little blossoms bravely raising their heads to see if we’re there yet. But the wind is, as ever, persistent and rather cold, and that’s excuse enough for me to keep making roast potatoes to see us through.
You may know a few years the lovely Nigella Lawson nearly caused a mass sell-out of goose fat across the UK with her promise that goose fat makes for the best roast. She’s not far wrong I should think; I make my roast potatoes with duck fat, not goose, but trusted authorities on such matters treat the two interchangeably which makes me feel safe in this decision.
I’ve had these on a number of occasions recently and they go very well with roast lamb, beef and pork but frankly, I could eat an entire plate of just duck fat roast potatoes and not feel shortchanged.
Start with the potatoes: I really like the lovely Agrias for their yellow flesh and agreeableness with roasting. As you know, they need washing, peeling and cutting in to chunks.
Put them in a large pot of water and get them boiling on the hob.
You’ll want to make sure your oven is nice and hot now. This can be a bit of a juggle if you are also roasting other things, but works well if you get any meat out to rest and then crank your oven up to at least 220 degrees.
Let the potatoes boil for about five minutes, and definitely no more than ten, until they are starting to soften a little on the outside. Drain them, put them back into the pot and, with the lid on, give them a shake around, roughing up their edges.
Prepare your roasting pan by placing a couple of spoonfuls of duck fat along the bottom of your roasting tray. This may sound odd, but I find it a good way to ensure the fat is distributed evenly over all parts of the spuds.
Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray. Dot more duck fat over the tops and sprinkle heartily with salt. Use a spatula and / or some tongs to coat the potatoes in the duck fat and salt.
Roast these in the oven for about 45 minutes, until they have crisped up and turned golden. I find the only need to be turned once, if at all.
Enjoy them with other goodies but don’t feel guilty if you just want a big plate of these all by themselves! My only warning is take care not to burn your tongue.