roastedPotatoes2

Heston’s Perfect Roasted Potatoes

How-To-Make Perfect Roasted Potatoes

My mum loved to burn potatoes. Well, that’s what I assumed. Turns out that she just burned potatoes. No love involved.

It’s like this, you see. My dad loved crispy fried potatoes, and true to form, my mum never quite knew when to stop. That makes sense when you have a few facts, like she didn’t learn to drive until she was 45, and until then she only stopped when she wanted to. Now she had to stop for red lights, stop signs, pedestrians crossing the street, squirrels, cats, dogs … stopping for potatoes was a brake too far.

Mum was cooking potatoes without benefit of Heston’s secret. I now know how to make roast potatoes that my dad would’ve loved. Fluffy inside, crispy, golden and crunchy outside. Heston uses 50:50 beef drippings and olive oil. The beef dripping’s not necessary; I used all olive oil with perfect result. But that’s not the secret.

Heston’s secret is two-fold: 1. Use fluffy roasting or baking potatoes. Red skin ones are best, and a large size so you cut them into to equal size chunks. Small ones won’t work well because you need three flat sides. If they’re too small, you’ll only have one flat side because you’ve cut each one in half rather than lots of chunks. You’ll understand why later when you try it yourself. And now for number 2. Cook them in gently simmering water until VERY VERY soft and they’re starting to fall apart. Not parboiled like Delia taught us. They should be at the stage where you think “Oh, no! I’ve overlooked them!” If that’s what you’re thinking after 20-25 minutes, then you’ve boiled them perfectly. Hurrah for you.

Slowly, carefully, as if fighting the effects of gravity, drain the cooked potatoes into a sieve or colander, and allow to cool completely. They’ll dry as the steam rolls off them. The edges should be separated, flakey, ready to fall off into mush. If you’re too heavy-handed when draining them into the sieve, the potatoes will collapse into mush, so easy does it. Now, fire up the oven to 200c, and place a roasting pan with about 1/2-inch of (olive) oil in it so it gets very hot. When the oil is shimmeringly hot, add the potatoes using a spoon (gently!), roll them in the oil so they’re covered with a thin slick, and put the potatoes in the oven to brown. Turn over each chunk at 20 minute intervals, and watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Mine were ready in 45-minutes.

roastedPotatoes1

Heston’s Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 kilo large red-skin potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 sprigs each of rosemary and thyme wrapped in cheese cloth
(if you don’t wrap the rosemary in a cloth, the needles come off and make a mess on the potatoes. I had to pick them off by hand.)
6 small garlic cloves bashed with the side of a knife
olive oil, enough for a layer 1/2-inch deep in a roasting pan

Method:

Peel and cut the potatoes into equal size chunks. Put them in a pot of cold water with the whole/bashed garlic cloves and the cheese cloth bag of herbs. Bring up to a boil, uncovered, and then reduce the heat so the potatoes cook at a low simmer until very soft and starting to fall apart along the edges. About 20-25 minutes. Carefully drain into a colander or sieve, slowly slowly slowly, so they don’t collapse into a mushy mess. Discard the cloth with herbs, but set aside the garlic cloves, and allow the potatoes to cool. The cooler the better, actually. Cool, cooked  potatoes absorb less oil than hot ones.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F when the potatoes are cool.

Pour 1/2-inch of olive oil or vegetable oil into a roasting pan large enough to hold all the chunks in one layer. Put the pan in the oven so the oil can reach a shimmery high heat.

Now, carefully spoon each chunk of potato into the pan of hot oil. Turn gently so each chunk is coated with a thin slick of oil, toss in the boiled garlic and pop the pan back into the oven before the oil can cool too much.

Roast for 45-60 minutes, turning the potatoes about every 20-minutes so they can brown on all sides.

Don’t throw away any of the little crispy bits that have fallen off the potatoes. They’re delicious. Drain on a layer of paper towelling, and serve hot with a sprinkle of flaked salt.

Note: This recipe is based on Heston Blumenthal’s. I’ve omitted the beef drippings, reduced the time in the oven roasting, and a bit of other faffing about that he’s famous for.

About these ads

35 thoughts on “Heston’s Perfect Roasted Potatoes

  1. They look splendid! I don’t have much beef dripping around but it is good for potatoes as is goose fat, which is my favourite for roasties. I don’t know if I could take the strain of the careful draining of the potatoes but it is worth knowing about and I will try one day. I wonder if one could do it by steaming the potatoes too? Did Heston mention that as an option? Anyway I am drooling and I haven’t even had breakfast… xxx

    1. I boil potatoes for 5 – 10 minutes, then drain them and put them in the bottom oven of the aga for 30 – 50 minutes and they cook beautifully without dissolving into a watery mush. Don’t see why steaming wouldn’t work or putting them in a low oven.

    2. He didn’t mention steaming but I think it would work fine. There’s a waitrose video on their website with Heston talking about it. The video shows how the cooked potatoes should look.

  2. They look superb. My problem is that I don’t always have the right potatoes so I end up with a mash, though actually that roasts pretty well if a little unconventional. I like the idea of your mother not stopping for anything until she drove.

      1. We ended up getting about 10 or 12 more inches of snow that has now been plowed and shoveled but boy it is cold. Five below zero this morning. :)

  3. Its not often I am stopped in my tracks by a wave of lust that completely overtakes me. Johnny Depp is going to have to take a back seat to these babies! Oh MAN they look good! I can actually taste the crisp exterior and feel that heady fluffiness and the taste…THE TASTE! At 6.49am I am floored by an overwhelming desire to light the oven (on what is probably going to be the hottest day of our year so far) and make a pan of this scrumptiousness. What are you doing to me? I gave up spuds for lent but that was last year. This year is a whole new clean slate…right? ;)

      1. Its raining now and cold so Heston is probably going to be my main squeeze tonight…better not tell Steve. He is still smarting over Johnny Depp! ;)

        1. My Dane is used to me going on about Messrs Depp (he speaks lovely French, by the way), so he’s not phased when I watch Pirates of the Caribbean for the umpteenth time. He is a dishy little dude.

  4. Look great Misky. Funnily enough a few years ago I thought I’d over-boiled the potatoes once but they turned out to be the best ones I’d made. I’ve never looked back!

  5. It s true.. NOTHING beats
    crunchy roast potatoes. I (and my broadening bottom) are a complete sucker for them. This is marvellous! The cooling is excellent news. i can make them ahead of time and then roast them when I come in from work on the farm! perfick.. c

    1. Remember that these babies need to be on the verge of falling apart. If they don’t reach that stage, the outside won’t go super-crusty. Enjoy!

        1. Yes, we are, and gales, too. Should improve by Wednesday but it’s been nearly of month of this extreme weather. Not typically very English!! :)

  6. I made these for the first time at Chrismas with goose fat and they were superb! I had one potato casualty that fell apart after boiling but they all crisped up beautifully and long suffering husband won’t have them any other way now. Hope you’re coping with the weather ok.

    1. Debbie, the next time toss that casualty in with the other potatoes. You’ll be surprised how delicious that crumbled up mess becomes in the goose fat! The weather is dire, Debbie, but at least we are dry and safe up on the hill. :)

  7. hehehe, still chuckling at the Johnny Depp talk. Heston really will have to move over as now I’m seeing these as Johnny Depp potatoes. Luckily, as I love the JD as well ;-)

Please Leave a Comment. I'd Love to Hear From You.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s