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Are you ready to get your roast on? The turkey may be the star of the show, but we've got to admit, it's the roast potatoes that can make or break a meal. And as Jamie Oliver says, 'if you can master the perfect roast potatoes, you're well on your way to the perfect Christmas dinner'.
So for delicious results, why not follow Jamie's advice, along with Mary Berry, James Martin and more, as we answer the question, how do you make perfect roast potatoes?
We've also got our own foolproof recipe for delicious potatoes to serve with your Christmas dinner. Enjoy!
Tips on perfect roast potatoes from the experts
'I've discovered that the humble potato masher is the secret to the perfect roastie,' says Jamie. He recommends using Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into even chucks – 'twice the size of a squash ball is about right,' he advises.
Remove the starch by washing the peeled potatoes, then pop in a pot of water, season generously and bring to the boil. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, drain, then shake up in the colander so they'll fluff up nicely in the oven.
Jamie recommends cooking your potatoes for 30 mins at 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5 in your chosen fat – for 1.5kg of potatoes, try a good couple of lugs of olive oil, or 50g butter, diced, or 2 tablespoons of goose fat. Take out of the oven and then... 'Now's the time for my new trick. Gently squash each potato with a potato masher to increase the surface area – the more of your potato that's in contact with the pan, the crispier it will be.'
Pop back in the oven and then cook for a further 40 mins. Before you do so, you could add extra flavour with a mix of red wine, oil, seasoning and herbs – you can see Jamie's favourite roast potato combos here (opens in new tab).
'If you know you’re going to be pushed on Christmas Day, then half-roast the potatoes the day before,' says Mary, who, like Jamie, is a fan of using Maris Pipers. 'On Christmas Day they just need to be re-roasted in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.'
'Don’t try to roast your potatoes at the same time as your turkey,' warns James Martin. 'The turkey creates too much steam in the oven and your potatoes won’t roast. Take the turkey out and wrap it, then put the potatoes in.'
The Hairy Bikers
'Nothing beats perfect roast potatoes,' say the Hairy Bikers (opens in new tab). 'It makes all the difference to your Christmas lunch.' they have a recipes that guarantees spuds that are soft on the inside and super crunchy on the outside.
Like Jamie, they peel and then parboil their potatoes for a few minutes, then drain and shake in a colander to roughen the edges.
But their trick is to sprinkle with 2tbsps of polenta, plus salt and pepper.
They also recommend you pour the potatoes into a tin where the fat is already 'sizzling' hot. 'Goose fat is a must to make the tastiest, crispiest roasties ever,' they say. The oven should be set to 220C and the recommended cooking time is 45 minutes.
How do you make perfect roast potatoes? Try this recipe...
Straight from the Ideal Home test kitchen, our recipe for perfect roast potatoes and parsnips serves 8.
It's ready in 1hr 20mins.
- 1.5kg even-sized potatoes, peeled and halved
- 500g parsnips, peeled and halved
- 175g goose fat
- 2tsp sea salt
- 1tbsp mustard seeds
- Sprigs of fresh thyme
1. Put the potatoes in one pan and the parsnips in another. Cover with cold salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook the potatoes for 8 mins and the parsnips for 6 mins. Drain and toss each in a colander to rough up the edges.
2. Spread out the potatoes and parsnips on two baking trays. Cool, cover with cling film and freeze.
3. Heat the oven to 200C/ Gas 6. Put the goose fat in a large roasting tin, then heat for 4 mins, until it's sizzling. Add the potatoes and cook for 30 mins, then turn and push them to one end of the tin. Add the parsnips. Sprinkle with salt, mustard seeds and thyme and cook for 30 mins more, until everything is crisp and golden, turning as needed.
Serve, with turkey and all the trimmings – and treat yourself to a glass of something bubbly for your efforts.
Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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