Perfect roast potatoes is something even the most seasoned of home cooks can struggle with. Achieving a soft, fluffy inside and a crisp, golden outer shell is a balancing act in and of itself, let alone when you factor in the rest of the Christmas dinner to be looking after.
Good time management will help, as leaving your potatoes until the last minute could mean the rest of the meal going cold or becoming overcooked while you wait for them to crisp up. As a rule, allow at least an hour for your potatoes to cook; they might not need all this time, but can stay warm under a layer of foil while you put the finishing touches to everything else.
Top tips for golden roasties
Make sure your potatoes are of similar size to help them cook evenly. Smaller potatoes will crisp up more easily, so aim for roughly 5cm pieces.
Parboiling the potatoes gives them a good head start, plus allows for the all-important fluffing up which helps create the crisp shell. Boil your potatoes for 5 minutes in salted water, then drain and return to the pan. Allow to steam dry for 2 - 3 minutes, then replace the lid and shake the pan roughly to fluff the edges of the potatoes.
Hot, hot fat is crucial, so leave plenty of time for your baking trays to warm up (adding them to the oven while you're parboiling the potatoes is a good option). What type of fat you use will affect the flavour, whether you want rich and luxurious goose fat or something subtler like vegetable oil. If you are cooking for any vegetarians don't forget to make an extra tray of veggie-friendly potatoes if you plan on using goose fat for the rest.