Roast dinners are simple, but comforting. The smell of roast meat cooking makes me think of family dinners around a table crowded with dishes of potatoes and veg ready for us to help ourselves. Having a roast has always been a Sunday tradition in my family, and even though I no longer live with my parents, Chris and I often pop over for dinner on a Sunday evening. The welcoming smell meets us at the door, and we’re invited in for a drink and a chat before the main event. And we’re never disappointed by the dinner!
Sunday roasts are Dad’s domain, and always come with plenty of veg, often Yorkshire puds, and there are always the crispy, fluffy roast potatoes, accompanied by sweet roast carrots. These have long been my favourite, and I can’t imagine a roast dinner without them! So naturally, I had to perfect some roasties of my own, and after tying various different seasonings, I’ve found that simple is best. I’ve also found that there are a few key things which help guarantee that perfectly crispy outside, and fluffy inside on every potato.
My 5 tips for perfect roast potatoes
TIP 1: Large, flat pieces work best. This shape maximises surface area for crisping up, and they’re perfect for submerging in gravy, if you’re anything like me!
TIP 2: Always parboil the potatoes before roasting. Boiling the potatoes for 10 minutes before roasting guarantees they’re cooked through, so that the oven just needs to crisp up the edges.
TIP 3: After boiling, and before putting them in the roasting tin, shake the potatoes gently, to fluff up the edges. These bits will go extra crisp in the oven. Add a tsp of semolina for even more crunch.
TIP 4: The roasting tray and oil or fat should be hot before adding the potatoes, to help start the crisping process as soon as possible!
TIP 5: Robust chunks of potato need robust flavours. Season them well, bash up a few garlic cloves and add some sprigs of fresh herbs to make them really taste good.
Crispy roast potatoes & carrots recipe
Serves 2, cooking time 40-50 minutes
2 large potatoes
2 large or 4 small carrots
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2-3 cloves garlic
A handful of sprigs of fresh thyme and/or fresh rosemary
Boil the kettle. Peel the potatoes and scrub the carrots.
Cut each of the potatoes into 4-5 large, flat chunks. If using large carrots, halve them length-ways, leave small ones whole.
Fill a pan with the boiled water, add the potatoes and carrots, and boil for 10 mins.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a roasting tin with the olive oil, garlic cloves and herbs.
Place the tin in the oven to heat the oil.
Drain the potatoes and carrots, give them a little shake, and add to the hot tin, they should start to sizzle!
Carefully mix the potatoes and carrots to coat in the oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 30-40 mins, until crisp and golden.
Serve immediately, with lots of thick gravy!