Rustic Roasties

I don't make roast potatoes very often, but when I do, this is my method. They don't look like traditional roast potatoes - I don't even bother peeling unless absolutely necessary; but my goodness, they are crispy and delicious. Best of all, a dish can be prepped the day before if you wish. Just cover the dish and pop in the fridge overnight.



Tip

To begin with make sure the potatoes you use are suitable for roasting. It really does make a big difference. Potato varieties change over time and new names emerge. Every whip and flip, its worth googling potato varieties and what they are best used for - take a screen shot so it's handy at the supermarket. The variety is always printed on the bag. I often find the variety I want is the supermarket saver brand, exactly the same as the finest at 4 times the price.




We're having our main meal this evening, so I prepped my potatoes this morning. I do think they are better made ahead of time as they soak up the seasoning.


I begin by par-boiling the potatoes. I don't peel, either leaving whole, or cutting in half or thirds depending on size of spud. I cook mine for 5 mins on high setting in the pressure cooker, then drain.


I drizzle a baking dish with olive oil. I'm using a lemon infused oil today as it will go well with the Mediterranean roast veggies I'm cooking. Plonk the potatoes in, cut sides down or on the side (do as I say, not do as I do... I did turn most of mine over after taking the photo). Then lightly press down with a masher, just enough to break the surface of each potato and squidge it down in the pan.



I add some plant butter next, smooshing in a teaspoon here and there between the spuds so that it will sizzle away in the oven later. I add another drizzle of lemon infused olive oil on top before adding seasoning.


I've scattered some chopped garlic around the dish. If using a fresh garlic bulb, leave the slivers whole and push in the gaps between spuds. Today I've used dried thyme and rosemary*** as it's all I have, plus liberal turns of my black peppercorn mill and sea salt.



The dish is now full with smashed potatoes, slathered in buttery, garlicky oil. As the potatoes have been squidged, they soak in all the flavour (ok - and the oil, there's a reason I don't make these often - they are an indulgent treat) whilst cooking. I will now cover with cling film and chill until this evening.


Later I will pop on the top shelf of a hot oven, (220, fan 200) for 50-60 mins.


Once cooked, the dish will smell divine as it comes out of the oven. Garlicky wafts, the potatoes golden with crunchy bits that just melt in your mouth.



Ta-da! Ooh yes, there's definitely a crunchy top going on, with an unctuous roasted softness underneath I can't wait to dive into.


Serving up this evening with everything roasted in my oven together for an hour. I did the potatoes on the top shelf, roast vegetables and my favourite Tesco vegan Cumberland sausages on the middle. I added some vegan stuffing on the bottom shelf for the last half hour.


After 45 minutes I took out the veg and carefully poured off the juices into a saucepan, so I could make my red wine gravy (see an earlier Instagram post for recipe). I then put veg dish into microwave and reheated for 2 mins before serving.




***I find dried herbs just as good as fresh - but fresh do look far better if entertaining. Bringing out the dish of potatoes all ready to cook dotted with fresh herbs looks fabulous but I'm yet to be convinced the flavour is vastly improved.


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