How To Roast Potatoes Irish Or English Style

Ultra-crispy roast potatoes with soft, creamy insides, compliment a turkey dinner perfectly.  Mashed potato may be the spud of choice in America for Thanksgiving, but turkey always makes my Irish taste buds dream of roast potatoes.

Today’s post is dedicated to the spud and the cooking method of choice for Irish Sunday dinners.  I’ll show you my little tricks of the kitchen trade, to ensure your roasties turn out perfectly crispy every time.  And if you prefer a softer outer crust, we’ll discover how to achieve this too.

 

1. Oven Temperature:

 

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  A hot oven is needed to create that golden outer crust.

Many people roast potatoes by tossing them into the pan alongside their meat.  This way the potatoes will soften and cook, but will never develop a tantalizing, golden appeal.  The problem is with the oven temperature.  Meat is usually cooked at temperatures between 300 degrees and 350 degrees.  Fine for meat, but much too low for crisping.

In addition, the steam from the meat cooks the potatoes, so it is impossible to create the dry heat required for lovely roasties.  The solution is two ovens, but if like me you only have one, just cook the meat first and then let it sit while the potatoes do their thing.

 

2. Potato Size:

 

The next big decision is choosing your potatoes.  I like russet potatoes, since they cook up a little “flourier” on the inside, and crisp up nicely on the outside.  If you prefer a softer roastie then pick a Yukon Gold variety.

 

You can roast potatoes of any size, but I like a medium potato.  For faster cooking you can halve them, quarter them, or cut them into bite-size pieces.  I prefer a substantial potato on my plate.

Picking similar size potatoes is very important if you plan on not cutting them.

3. Par-Boiling:

 

Next peel the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan.  Cover them with cold water, season them with salt and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

This par-boiling step is key to creating the crispy outer crust.  So, even you are tempted, never skip it.

4. Hot Oil:

 

While the potatoes are boiling pour about 1/3 of a cup of oil into a roasting pan, then place it in the pre-heated oven.  You can use vegetable, canola, or olive oil, or if you have duck or goose fat, even better.

 

 This hot oil step will seal the outer potato layer.

5. Roughing Up Those Spuds:

 

While the oil is heating strain your potatoes.  Feel free to use a colander, but I do it the Irish way, which includes a free steam facial.  My mother always said:

“Why bother dirtying another thing, when you can strain away with the pot and its lid.”

 

 

I just take a dish towel, spread it across the pot lid which is pulled away from the lip by a 1/4 inch.  Then holding on tightly to the handles I pour the water down the sink.  Be sure to keep that lid in place or you will end up with all your spuds in the bottom of the sink.

Now comes another little secret for crisping your praties.  Put the lid back on the pot and give them a good, old shake.  Roughing up the outer surface helps the hot oil stick and do its trick.

Take the lid off the pot and let the par-boiled potatoes sit for a few minutes to steam dry.

If you strained them in a colander, just toss them around a bit, right in the colander.

6. Oil Basting:

 

Next remove the pan of hot oil from the oven and add the potatoes.  You should hear a little sizzle.  Turn them around in the oil to fully coat all the surface area of the potatoes.

 

I use a fairly big roasting pan.  You need to space them apart so they are not touching.  If you overcrowd the pan the potatoes will steam cook as their inner juices vaporize in the hot oven.

Feel free to season them with salt and pepper at this stage.  I don’t bother since I already added some to the water for par-boiling, and I like to keep sodium in our diet as low as possible.

Pop them in the oven.  After 15 minutes, take them out and give them a turn.  Use a metal spoon to pour the hot oil over them.  See how they are turning brown in this picture.

I turn them again in another 15 minutes.

7. Cooking Time:

After 45 to 60 minutes you should have delicious, crispy spuds.  Watch them closely towards the end so they do not burn.

I included a 15-minute window for final cooking time.  How long is dependent upon the size of your potatoes.  Bite size roasties may cook in less than 30 minutes.

And so, there ya go.  If you follow these steps you will produce perfect, traditional Irish or English roasties every time.

My cooking method is for a standard roast potato, but the sky is the limit on different seasonings you can add.  Garlic, onion powder, paprika, thyme, rosemary all add an extra depth of flavor.  Just sprinkle the seasonings of your choice on your potatoes when they are in the roasting pan waiting to hit that hot oven.

Happy potato roasting to all!

Here is the printable recipe:

Roast Potatoes Irish Or English Style

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region British
Ultra-crispy roast potatoes with soft, creamy insides, compliment a roast dinner perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 8 Medium russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or goose fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1 Peel the potatoes. Leave whole, or cut in half or quarters depending upon the roast potato size desired.
Step 2 Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3 Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch or two of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer for five minutes.
Step 4 Drain the potatoes. Toss in the saucepan or colander to roughen their outer surfaces. Let sit for a few minutes to steam dry.
Step 5 Pour the oil into a large roasting pan and heat in the oven for a few minutes.
Step 6 Place the potatoes into the hot oil, and turn them gently to evenly coat the surface with oil. Do not place the potatoes too close together.
Step 7 Season with salt and pepper as desired. Roast in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes depending upon the size of the potato pieces. Turn the potatoes after 15 and 30 minutes of cooking.
Step 8 Potatoes are cooked when the outer surface has turned golden and crispy. Serve hot with roast poultry or meat.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

 

Irish American Mom

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Comments

  1. I wouldn’t disagree with any of that. They should come out grand and crispy.

    Do you really count temp in F. I’d say there isn’t anyone under 70 that can convert since the lads on the telly went C for the weather round about 1970.

    • Vince – Our weather forecast is still reported in Fahrenheit over here. All ovens are still old school and there is no such thing as a Gas Mark for a cooker. My gas oven has a Fahrenheit temperature gauge. I have grown so accustomed to it I get all confused when I am cooking at home in Ireland. I actually have to google conversion tables.
      Have a lovely weekend.
      Mairead

  2. You should have titled this post: A Service To Mankind- My Roast Potatoes Recipe!
    My husband does similar roast potatoes but not exactly like yours…we will try it your way and let you know. (My life is so hard, trying out a new way to roast a potato!) xx

  3. These sound so good! I’ve got a jar of duck fat in my fridge that needs using…we’ll have to try these!

    • Aimee – Duck fat will make these potatoes so crispy and delicious. Enjoy! My mouth is watering thinking about them.

      • These were SO delicious Mairead!! I had mixed results with the mashed turnips and rutabagas, but everyone loved these! And the duck fat made them smell (and taste!) so delicious! We’re already planning to make them again next week!

        • Aimee – So glad you liked these roast potatoes. I prefer them to mashed any day, especially with any kind of roast meat.
          I thought you might get mixed reviews on turnips and rutabagas. They are an acquired taste, and I had plenty practice eating them as a kid in Ireland. They were a staple on our dinner menu.
          Take care,
          Mairéad

          • I think I would prefer them to mashed as well! We have successfully tried our kids on many different foods and have gotten so used to them eating things such as liver, kraut, etc that I guess I didn’t think a turnip or rutabaga would cause that much pause. :) I should have known though, since I’ve made caramelized turnips a few times and they’ve never been too pleased to see them on their plates. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to add turnips and rutabagas to the list of foods our kids eat without thinking twice!

          • Aimee – I hated parsnips as a kid. My mom used to mash them up with carrots to try to get me to eat them. It took over twenty years before she finally succeeded. I hope you get your boys to like rutabagas much sooner than that.
            Mairéad

  4. Oh YUM! I’ll be making these this week!

  5. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I made them this evening, carefully following all your instructions and they turned out perfect. Will be doing them a lot more often now!

    • Mairead – You can’t beat crispy roast potatoes with a Sunday roast, and once you know the little tricks to ensuring that crispy outside, they really are pretty simple to cook. Glad you enjoyed them.
      Mairéad

  6. Maureen O' Hanlon says:

    Oh Mairead your roast potatoes are fab, mine are never that great, its hit and miss with me, my mother used to make beautiful ones in the bastibal, i think i know now whats wrong, i put them in with the meat and i dont pre boil them either, im going to do them your way next time, you are a wonderful cook, i love the way you show every step, do you sell any cook books id buy one i love your recipies, and i love to see your lovely little hands on the pictures.i do be looking at them in awe and thinking what a wonderful pair of hands you have. :)

    Have a smily day Maureen

    • Maureen – Your roast potatoes are probably steaming too much when they are cooked alongside the meat. I can only imagine how wonderful roast potatoes must have been cooked in the bastible. So glad you like my recipes. I would love to have a cookbook someday. I need to start planning what recipes to include. It’s lovely to hear feedback from readers, since it let’s me know what type of recipes people enjoy most. Sometimes it is the simplest recipes that are most popular.
      Have a lovely day too.
      Mairéad

  7. Maureen O' Hanlon says:

    Yes Mairead the roast pototoes done in the bastible were lovely done in goose fat , it was always a goose that time for christmas in the 50s and 60s never a turkey, my Mother used to clean out and pluck the geese for a farming family and i remember as a small child looking on and there would be feathers flying everywhere and she would always keep the wings and use as a little brush for picking up dust and cleaning, if my children saw a wing of a goose in our house they would be gone, as a small child I also remember red berry holly hanging over every picture and a big red candle on the window and I remember making the decorations out of beautiful crepe paper all different colours, im rambling now, ha.

    Take care Maureen

    I would love if you made a cook book and use all of your recipies they are all lovely.

    • Maureen – I love your stories. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your lovely view of the world and memories of your Irish childhood.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  8. Barbara says:

    I was wondering why you peel the potatoes. I have been taught that there are a lot of nutrients in the skins. I am just curious. These potatoes sound great. I live alone so I would only do a few potatoes at a time. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Barbara – I too have heard potato skins are very nutritious. I peeled these potatoes to cook them in the traditional way I was taught by my mother. If you want to try cooking them with the skins on, make sure you cut the potatoes, so allow steam escape as they cook. If you leave them whole with skins on, the outer layer will get very wrinkled and the inner flesh will pull away from the skin. You might end up with a baked potato rather than a roastie. I hope you enjoy these.
      All the best,
      Mairéad

  9. These were marvelous tonight! Thank you! They accompanied the mashed rutabegas, which we also owe to you! Thank you so much for these helpfuland easy-to-follow recipes! We’ve done the sausage rolls and Scotch eggs and plan the Guinness beef stew for the weekend… You’ve become a part of our lives. Now, if only you could help with “veg roll,” which seems to be an exclusively northern item. I smuggled the spices and rusk back from Fermanagh, but can’t seem to get the proprtions rigth. Thank you again for a week’s worth of satisfying meals that have transoirted me back to my childhood.

    • Michael – Thanks so much for your kind words about my recipes. So glad your family gives Irish cooking their seal of approval. I’ve never heard of “veg rolls” before, but I’ll have to check with my husband’s family in Donegal. I do make a vegetable type croquette that I call rissoles. They may be similar. I’ll make some rissoles someday in the future to feature on my blog.
      Best wishes,
      Mairéad

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  1. [...] loved the roasted potatoes I had in Ireland. The Irish American Mom shares a recipe here that I plan to try soon. Maybe I’ll get my family to give up mashed potatoes for Christmas with [...]

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