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Sunday Roast: How To Make Perfect Crispy Roast Potatoes in Goose Fat recipe

perfect roast potatoesGood potatoes make decent roast potatoes. Great crispy roast potatoes are cooked in goose fat. We discovered this when we had a surfeit of goose fat knocking about in the fridge. Until a month ago, I used to feel a bit guilty about using goose fat. Even so, I secretly looked forward to the highlight of the Sunday roast – crisp, soft centred, irresistible, golden roast potatoes.

Imagine my delight last month when I discovered that goose fat is the healthiest of animal fats. It’s high in healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fats.

Until I met Danny I wasn’t really interested in potatoes. I particularly liked those tiny expensive Jersey Royals. When these were out of season, I didn’t eat potatoes. If friends were coming for lunch I’d buy a bag and throw out the slimy remains a few weeks later.

Danny’s arrival heralded a change in diet. He was very patient, enduring months of sprouting mystery “white potatoes” that I bought in large paper sacks. They were excellent value as they lasted for weeks. Finally he tentatively suggested that we might buy a small bag of King Edwards for a Sunday roast. The 5 kilo bag was devoured within a couple of days.

Suitably chastened, I now grow our own and supplement these with the best available locally. Yet the secret of great roasties owes more to the fat than the potatoes.

Recipe for Perfect Roast Potatoes (for four – they will eat more of these than you might imagine!)

Pre-heat oven to 210c (190c fan, gas mark 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo potatoes (King Edward, Desiree, Kerrs Pinks are best but any will do. The fresher the better)
  • 2 tbsp goose fat
  • half tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Boil a large kettle of water, enough to cover the potatoes when they will eventually be in your saucepan
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut into similar sized pieces (leave smaller potatoes whole or cut them in half and then match this chunk size when chopping the bigger ones)
  3. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Parboil them by bringing them back to the boil and then boil gently for no more than ten minutes.
  4. Turn off the ring
  5. Put the goose fat into a large shallow oven-proof dish (or roasting tray) and put on top shelf of oven to melt and heat through
  6. Strain potatoes and return to the saucepan. Place the saucepan back onto the still-warm ring for about five minutes, shaking it every now and then to break down the edges of the potatoes, making them dry and fluffy.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic granules fairly evenly over the goose fat.
  8. Carefully tip the parboiled potatoes into the dish so as to avoid splashing the hot fat over you. Turn them over and over until they are coated in the fat, salt, pepper and garlic mix.
  9. Return the dish to the top shelf of the oven for one hour, turning the potatoes half way through.

Tips and tricks:

  • Try to time the roast potatoes so that they are ready just as you are about to serve the meal, to enjoy them at their crispiest.
  • If your joint requires a lower cooking temperature you can still follow the method above. Just put them in half an hour before your joint is due to be taken out and then turn the oven up to 220c (200c fan) for the last half an hour whilst your joint is relaxing under a keep-warm duvet of foil covered with tea cloths.
  • These potatoes need an hour in the oven. Anything less does not work.
  • French goose fat in jars is available from Waitrose (in the butter and fat area). Store in your fridge. I’ve also seen tins of goose fat in Sainsbury’s at Christmas.
  • Goose fat can be reused. Pour into a seperate container and store in the fridge, it keeps for quite a while.
  • If we eat goose for Christmas lunch we save the fat and freeze quite a bit in cubes.

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38 Comments

  1. Hi Andrew – we are delighted to hear of your success. I like the way you added thyme. Apparently a little rosemary (not too much!) also adds zing but we have not tried it ourselves.
    Take a look at this roast beef method. That is the way I like it – almost black on the outside and quite rare inside. It’s a matter of weight, temperatures, timings and trial & error 🙂

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Andrew

    This is great! Thanks for the feedback. Danny is a master when it comes to roasting beef so I’ve asked him to leave a comment for you.

    Happy holidays!

  3. Thanks for your help; the roast potatoes this Christmas were the best yet. Parboiled for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending upon the size of them. Scratched with a fork on the surfaces not covered with washed and scrubbed skin. Placed into the oven tray in hot goose fat [about 3 tablespoons per half kg of potatoes], basted and sprinkled with Thyme. Covered loosely in foil for 20 minutes to retain some moisture. Turned no more than twice and re-basted. Total roasting time about one hour. Now I’ve to master the art of roasting beef – anyone any tips?

  4. Heather, the potatoes would probably discolour if you kept them too long in the fridge, but a day or two shouldn’t hurt. Because they are partly cooked, only the cooked parts are exposed to air, which is what causes the discolouration. I’m sure you’ve stored left-over cooked potato in your fridge for a few days without any harm. If you store them in the fridge without parboiling them, however, you would need to put them in bags and make sure all the air was sucked out. I’ve done that with kumara and had no problems but never tried it with potato. As for pumpkin, it can go soft and soggy even without parboiling. It’s a pain at Christmas because Crown pumpkin seems to be nice only in mid-winter. Pumpkin is scrumptious when it’s nice but it’s not easy to get nice pumpkin these days. (Mmm. I’ve just finished a slice of Ozzie watermelon. It’s always so much nicer than New Zealand grown ones.)

  5. Back to making life easier on Christmas Day — when you parboil them day before and put them in fridge (not freezer) covered – do they not discolour – same with green vegetables ? So how long potatoes need to be cooked for in oven then to cook through and brown and crisp ? And …. whenever I parboil pumpkin then roast it is always soft and soggy — what am I doing wrong here …… can we cancel Christmas Day by the way ?

  6. I don’t have a huge family. Most are in Auckland and there will be only myself, my husband and his elderly sister for Christmas Day. All our friends seem to have other arrangements. I give mince pies (in dozens) as gifts. Our Rural Postie gets some for instance; he gives us great service. They are more thank you gifts than Christmas presents and they are small enough not to embarrass the recipients. Mince pies for Christmas are a relatively recent thing in New Zealand. We certainly never had them when I was a child. When the supermarkets put in their own bakeries they started making them and gradually their popularity increased. But I’ve made them most of my married life of forty years because my husband is English and his mother always made them.

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Laraine

    Thanks for all these great tips. 8 dozen mince pies – you must have a huge family!

  8. Heather, I’m sure you can get goose fat in Australia. You can certainly buy it in NZ, though I had to do it over the Internet, and glass jars make for expensive postage. You don’t need to freeze the potatoes. I boil mine for about 5-6 minutes (I do the same to the kumara and pumpkin) a day or two ahead and store them covered in a bowl in the refrigerator. Nobody is any the wiser because they still roast beautifully. I pod my peas and string and slice my beans at least a day ahead too. These I store in plastic bags from which I make sure to take all the air before sealing and placing in the fridge. They still taste great. You have to do as much as you can ahead of the day if, like myself, you have no help with your Christmas dinner. I make my mince pies ahead too (over several days because I land up making a good eight dozen) and store them in their pans in the freezer until I need to cook them. I’m lucky to have plenty of those round-bottomed small cake pans that we used to call muffin pans. They are nice and black from decades of use. I hate those non-stick things that are all you can buy these days.

  9. Hey guys, I’ve done more research on the web and can only find that freezing is referred to by a number of folk only after the parboil stage. http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/index.php/chatroom/topic/5149 being a good example of such articles.
    This is not going to help those of us who have many meals to prepare at Christmas; however, the presenter on TV stated that roast potatoes can be frozen and reheated. Pity she was not too explicit on the process. Producers of frozen roast potatoes that supply Supermarkets clearly are able to achieve success; however are we going to save much oven time by pre-roasting and then re-roasting? Maybe not. A comment early on this site by Alisha on 7 November 2007 stated that you can roast, freeze and then microwave without loosing too much quality. Maybe that is going to be my best option when cooking for 20.
    Danny – I’ll be interested in your experiments. Heather – let’s hope we find a way through 🙂

  10. Andy, your tips are really useful. Thank you very much for going to the trouble of writing them up for us. I agree that home made (roasted) goose or duck fat is better than store-bought rendered stuff. Our Christmas goose usually produces enough fat to keep us going throughout the year, which is a good thing because goose in the UK is expensive, approx £50 for a family size bird. The fat balances the outlay a little (maybe £13 to £15 worth of fat). We must seek out a restaurant supplier of duck as you described. Brilliant idea.

    Andrew / Heather – I am intrigued by the possibility of freezing pre-cooked roast potatoes. Today I will experiment in advance of our Sunday lunch and report back.

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