Friday 9 December 2016

The best ever festive roasties

Roast potatoes
It's lunchtime on Friday 9th December, and I've already had one Christmas Dinner so far this month. I feel it's my duty to cane as many of these as I can over the festive period, for when they are gone, they are gone. At the heart of this glorious meal is the golden, fat seared roast potato, which is nowhere to be seen on my Body Coach eating plan. When they're good, they are a thing of joy, but get a bad one, and that culprit will be on the naughty list for the rest of eternity (or until they make better ones). 

United Utilities are asking us foodie folk to spare a thought for their amazing teams who de-gunk our water pipes this Christmas. Did you know that the average North West household pours 14Ibs of fat, oils and grease down the drain in a year. Across the region, this equates to 2.9 million stone - the weight of over 243,000 UK adults (more than the population of Oldham!). Disgusting! 

You might not have realised that United Utilities have to attend over 53,000 call-outs to pipe blockages every year at a cost of £20 million. That's caused by folk tipping fat down their drains.

What can I do instead?
  • Pop it back in the container when cool, and chuck it in the bin.
  • Goose and duck fat can actually be reused a few times too!
  • Use lighter cooking methods where possible. I only ever use coconut oil to fry things other than roasties. No excess means no waste. You might lose a few pounds too...

‘My Roastie Photie’ - #binfat2winthat

United Utilities is launching the ‘My Roastie Photie’ competition, asking people to post a photo of their perfectly cooked roast potato with the hashtag #binfat2winthat – giving five people the chance to bag £100 of food vouchers. SO SHOW ME YOUR ROASTIES!

Get them shared, and say hello to those fat clearing heroes at United Utilities on Facebook or Twitter

So here's my offering. The best roasties in the west, in my opinion anyway!

  • 1.5 kilos of Maris Piper potatoes
  • 320g jar of duck fat (I used the M&S one)
  • 1.5 tbsp semolina powder
  • Maldon sea salt

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Cut diagonally in order to maximise the exposed surface area. This means more crispiness! Give them a wash in a colander before putting in the pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 'Hades' level. The hotter the better! Place the shelf on the top rung of the 'middle' section. 
  3. Pour the whole tub of duck fat into a large, heavy bottomed roasting tin and place in the oven.
  4. Pop the spuds into cold, salted water and bring to a simmer. Parboil for 5 minutes. 
  5. Drain and then put back in the pan. 
  6. Sprinkle in the semolina.
  7. Right. Muscles needed folks. Start chuffing! Shake that pan like you're in a pan shaking competition! You're also burning a few calories, so you don't need to feel bad about the amount you will eat later... The edges should be all fluffy (see above).
  8. Your duck fat should be bubbling nicely in the oven. Remove the roasting tray and put onto the hob. BE CAREFUL! It's hotter than hell fire!
  9. Working quickly, place the potatoes into the bubbling fat. Do not tip them from the pan. You will regret this on your way to A&E. I generally do it carefully by hand so I can do a few at a time, but I would recommend using cooking tongs.
  10. Back in the oven sharpish!
  11. Cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Turn using tongs.
  13. Back in for 30 minutes.
  14. Turn using tongs.
  15. You are looking for a nice golden brown colour all over (see above). They will probably need at least another 20 minutes, but unlike baking this is no exact science. Take them out when they are done!
  16. Remove from the hot fat using tongs and into a large ovenproof bowl lined with kitchen roll.
  17. Dab any excess fat with more kitchen roll. Remove all said kitchen roll.
  18. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp of Maldon sea salt.

I generally then leave these in the bottom of a medium oven whilst I cook my veggies and carve the meat. This gives them an extra bit of crispy wonderfulness.

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