I can hardly believe got all the way to my late thirties before I found out how to make roasted potatoes the Right Way. I used to just chop ’em up and roast them. Oh, was I wrong.
What you do is this: bring a pot of salted water to a boil. While it’s heating up, peel your potatoes (or don’t) and cut them into chunks. Parboil the potatoes for about five minutes, then drain them. Put the potatoes back into the pot, put the lid on, and shake them. Then roast them with olive oil at 425 or 450 for about an hour.
When you shake your parboiled potatoes, you rough up the surface significantly. So when you then roast them, the potatoes develop a lovely crunchy crust. It’s a tiny bit more trouble, but the payoff is remarkable. This is an old British trick, apparently; say what you like about British food, but they do seem to know their potatoes.
Last night I roasted up some potatoes and had them with a sauce based on the Colombian dish papas chorreadas. Normally, papas chorreadas is made with boiled potatoes, but it’s delicious with these roasted taters. (I am sure there’s a British Columbia joke to be had here somewhere.) No doubt it’d be even better with shallots and scallions and perhaps some hot pepper; I had my heat on the side in the form of a hot andouille sausage from Olsen Farms, which was just about perfect. You might also want to try frying the cumin, adding it near the end of the onion saute. But Josh and I were pretty well satisfied as it was.
~3 pounds of potatoes in some form
1 small onion, minced fine
2 c of canned tomatoes, minced fine
1 tbsp dry cilantro (much better to have a big handful of fresh, of course, but this is what I had on hand)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp flour
~1/4 cup milk or cream
2 oz queso fresco, grated, (or any other salty white cheese that’ll melt at least a little)
Cook the minced onion in olive oil or butter at medium heat until it’s begun to brown, then add the tomato and spices and cook until the tomato bits have softened and it smells delicious. Stir in a little flour. Add a dollop of milk — not a lot, just enough so that it no longer looks like salsa — and the grated cheese. Heat, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Pour the sauce over the potatoes at the last moment.
This sauce held surprisingly well — always a consideration here, when I’m rarely sure exactly when Josh will be getting home.