Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crispy, Crunchy, Tasty too. Roast Potatoes in Duck goo.

Gloriously Golden Roasted Potatoes
In this whole duck adventure perhaps the part I was most looking forward to was using the fat from the duck to make the ultimate roast potatoes.

It's hard to imagine a world without potatoes.  In fact it always amazes me to think that there was a culture, prior to the discovery of America, which did without these strachy, earthy orbs of joy.  Would MacDonalds have ever made it without their french fries?  What would watching the rugby be like without a bowl of Potato Chips to have with your beer?  Could us Kiwi's handle a Sunday roast with only Kumara and Pumpkin??  I don't like the sounds of this potatoless world...

The amount of Roast potatoes consumed by Kiwi's on a wintry Sunday is probably impossible to measure.  By the time you've counted half of the potatoes on your Mum's serving platter the other half would have been eaten!  Of course being something that everyone has given a go means that everyone has their own little secrets as to how to cook the perfect roast spud.  If you google roast spuds you'll find many opposing views however there are some things that are agreed upon by all:

1.  The type of Potato

You can't make great food without great ingredients.  Perhaps the biggest key in getting a perfect spud is using the perfect type of Potato.  To be a good roastie you need a floury spud which has a high starch content.  The best type I find is the Agria.  Ilam Hardy and Red Rascal's also work well

2.  Par boil your spuds

Par boil your spuds by putting them into boiling salted water, bringing back to the boil and cooking for five minutes.  This gives the finshed roasted spuds a fluffy interior.

3.  Give your par-boiled spuds a gentle bash.

Drain the spuds, place back in the hot pan to dry the spuds and then shake them vigorously in the pan.  The idea is to break, or fluff up, the sides of the potato.  This helps to give the spuds a crisp and crunchy skin.  It works because when you break up the sides of the spud there is more surface area for the hot oil to penetrate into the spuds.

Gently Abused Potates

4. Make sure your fat/oil is hot and baste the spuds well during cooking.

You need the fat to be hot to start the potatoes getting crispy as soon as they hit the oven.  It's a good idea to have your oven as hot as possible however if you have a joint of meat roasting in there then you can get away with having the oven at 190 Degrees C.

Now the one major thing that people can't agree on is what type of fat/oil to use with the spuds!

My understanding of this whole process took leaps and bounds one lazy Sunday while watching those two fat ladies of gastronomic television Helena Dickson.  Not the types to consult the nutritional guidebook they whole heartedly suggested that the path to the ultimate roast spud is through using goose fat. Loads and loads of goose fat.  Goose fat is now widely available in the UK, and only costs about £4 for a can.  Unfortunately it hasn't become a popular item in our borders as yet, but you can get your hands on some duck fat, albeit expensive.

Otherwise check out my method to get the fat out of a spare duck carcass and you'll wind up with enough fat to cook spuds for 6, at a fraction of the cost.

Duck fat produces a gorgeously indulgent potato that is crisp, thanks to the heat of the fat, and rich, thanks to the creaminess of the duck fat.

Follow the process above and then cook the potatoes for about 45-60 minutes, depending on their size, basting a few times during that period and turning the spuds as well, to get all sides super crunchy.  Once cooked remove from the roasting tray and drain on paper towels before serving immediately with the rest of your dinner.  I served my spuds with a nicely cooked pork chop, simple gravy, sweet and sour apple relish and green beans.


  1. Yummm, all sounds great but do you have a recipe for the apple Relish?

  2. Hey. The Apple Relish was a bit of a slap together but from what I remember I chopped up 2 granny smiths. Sauted in a good chunk of butter for a few minutes then added 2Tbsp Water, 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, about 30g Brown Sugar, Some cinnamon and a bay leaf and a big grind on the old cracked pepper. Let it cook down until the apples are tender but still have some bite. Quantities may be a bit out but play around with that and see how ya go!!