2 ¼lbs(1kg) floury potatoes - such as Maris Piper or red-skinned Rooster potatoes
½cup(120g) lard or duck fat(use vegetable oil instead for a vegetarian version)
1tbspfresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
Peel the potatoes and chop into chunky pieces a little bigger than a ping pong ball (approx 2 inches/5cm across).
Place in a pan and cover with cold water. Place on the hob on a high heat and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 8-9 minutes - until softened at the edges.* Tip 1
Meanwhile, place the lard or (goose fat if using) in a large roasting tin and place in the oven to for 10 minutes until shimmering hot.
Drain the potatoes in a colander *Tip 2, and give them a good shake to really roughen up the edges. Don't worry if a few break apart and they look overly fluffy. The more fluffy they are, the better they'll absorb the fat and the crispier they'll be.
Carefully place the potatoes - using tongs - in the baking tin with the hot fat. Turn them over once to coat in the fat and then place in the oven.
Cook for 30-35 minutes, turning once or twice in the last 15 minutes of cooking, until golden brown and crispy.
Remove from the roasting tin and serve topped with a sprinkling of Maldon salt and some fresh thyme leaves.
8-9 minutes might seem like a long time to par-boil potatoes, but it's only after this amount of time that the potatoes will be cooked and tender at the edges. This will allow the edges to fluff up a lot when shaken. These fluffy bits at the bits that will go extra crispy in the oven.
Don't tip away the potato water, save it (and any other vegetable cooking/steaming water) to make your gravy. I add a stock cube or two to the roasting juices from the meat (to make the gravy stretch further), then stir in around 2-3 cups (480-720ml) of vegetable water with a good pinch of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and stir in a little cornflour/cornstarch slurry to thicken. Delicious!
Making mashed potatoes too?
I boil the chopped potatoes for my roasties and mash in the same pan at the same time. Then after 8-9 minutes, I use a slotted spoon to scoop out the potatoes for the roasties. The potatoes left in the pan are cooked for another 5 minutes or so until tender, before being drained and mashed with butter, cream, salt and pepper. I then cover the mash and put to one side whilst the roasties are in the oven, and reheat the mash in the microwave right before serving.
Make ahead Roast potatoes:
I do this if I want to get ahead or if I'm making a roast dinner for more than 6 people. Follow the recipe in the same way (increasing the amount of potatoes and fat to the same ratio if you're cooking for more people), but just roast the potatoes for 20 minutes - or until lightly golden. Then remove the potatoes from the fat and place in a bowl to cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Cool and cover the fat too. When you're ready to finish the potatoes, heat the fat in the oven at 220C/425F for 10 minutes, then add the potatoes back in and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until golden.This method works particularly well when you're cooking for more people, as the more potatoes you're roasting in the pan, the longer the potatoes take. So having them par-roasted means they should take no longer than 30 minutes to finish off.Nutritional information is per serving. Note - the roast potatoes don't absorb all of the fay, so I've halved the amount of fat for the calculation (this is approximate).