To be fair roast potatoes are pretty good no matter how you do them. Personally I'd rather have roast potatoes than boiled, steamed, or mash if serving up with some meat, veg, and gravy; or Sunday dinner.
However, many in the UK would agree that the best spud for roast tatties readily available at most supermarkets in Britain is the good old 'King Edward', roast in goose fat - but decent dripping or even lard makes a pretty damn good cheaper alternative.
There are a few variants to the way the Great British cook does them; some put them into the hot fat raw, others part-boil or part-steam them first, others almost fully boil or steam them before putting them into the fat. I think the latter method gives the best results.
So this is how I do them, and of course recommend my method in all cases.
You'll need some 'Neddies' (King Edward potatoes), and some meat fat (goose fat is best but is rather expensive, but the next best is dripping - beef, pork, or whatever you have; bacon dripping is my favourite of these - and if that fails then use lard. You could use vegetable, sunflower, olive oil, but personally I think they don't cut it, good old meat fat is the way to go.
By nearly fully cooking the potatoes first then their time in the oven will be concentrated on crisping and browning rather than cooking.
- Wash if necessary, and peel your spuds, then cut them into whatever size you're happy with.
- Chuck them in a pan with a bit of salt, then cover them in cold water.
- Bring them to the boil, then turn down the heat and let them fast simmer until they start to go rough/fluffy round the edges. Try not to overdo it or they will break up.
- Whilst the pan is boiling/simmering put the oven on 200C. Put a generous amount of the fat into a roaster. When oven has reached its temperature put the roaster of fat into the oven - we want it sizzling for when we put the potatoes into it.
- As soon as they've got to this stage then take off the heat and drain immediately (we don't want them to cook some more, so don't leave them standing in the hot water).
- Take roaster from oven and put the drained spuds into it. You may need to spread them out a bit so they are evenly spaced and hopefully not making a lot of contact with each other as this can lead to them sticking together.
- Put in oven and leave them alone for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- After this time the part of potato that's immersed in the fat should be getting nicely frazzled.
- Now take them out of the oven and get in with a slotted spoon or spatula, or whatever you've got to hand, and turn then all over so that the previously uppermost part of each spud is then immersed in the fat.
- Now put them back in the oven and give them another 20 to 30 minutes.
- When done they will be golden brown and crispy around the edges.
- Take them out of the oven and serve straight out of the sizzling fat; if you leave them to stand and cool they'll go soft and soggy and that's not what we want.