Monday, March 18, 2013

Irish Roasties

From December 2005 until July 2007 I lived in Ireland and LOVED it!!! Have you been there? It's one of the most amazing places I have ever seen and I miss it every day. The green, the Paddy men, the flower boxes (they really are amazing, especially in Killarney in summertime), even the rain. There is just nowhere like it and I can promise you, when you go -- YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!

For those that have experienced the Emerald Isle you will know that a meal in Ireland is just not complete without at least one, usually two, types of Potatoes. Mashed, Roasted, Boiled...I could go on and on.

So, in honor of St. Patrick's Day I am sharing with you the most common and my most type of potato I ever experienced in Ireland. Roasties. I made these for our St. Paddy's Day dinner and it took me right back :) Ah...enjoy.

*Note to all my friends in Ireland: Please critique and add your tips for us in the comments! We would love all the help we can get making these as legit as possible.

I have been trying to recreate these babies for years now and never feel like they measure up. These were my best attempt. They still aren't perfect but they were close enough to bring memories flooding back when I bit into the first one. Sooo, I'm calling it close enough to share and while I perfect them I will share any changes I make.

I found this article and it was so extremely helpful. This is also the recipe I used, minus the polenta.

  • about 3.5lbs potatoes, preferably a floury variety (Russet work great for this)
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP cornmeal / polenta (opt.)
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • If you are super organized and feel inclined to try it, put can your potatoes, unpeeled, in the fridge for a day or two before roasting. It will cause some of the starch to turn to sugars and encourage browning.
  • When ready to roast, preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Add the oil to your roasting tin and place in the oven to preheat also.
  • Peel your potatoes, keep the skins and wrap them in a piece of muslin and tie together in a little bundle with some string. (This will give more of a potato flavor but it's not absolutely necessary)
  • Cut the potatoes into roughly even-sized chunks (for large potatoes, quarter them, for smaller potatoes, halve them unless very small) and rinse the potatoes under running water for a minute or two to wash off surface starch.
  • Bring about 6C of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 2 tsp salt, the potatoes and the wrapped-up potato skins. (*as long as your potatoes are covered, it doens't really matter how much water is in the pot)Allow the water to come back to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the polenta, rosemary, about1/4 tsp salt and a couple of twists of freshly ground black pepper.
  • When the potatoes have finished simmering, remove from the heat, drain very well and discard the potato skins.
  • Return the potatoes to the pot, cover, place over a very low heat and, holding with both hands and using a tea-towel to protect yourself from any steam, shake the pot back and forth for up to a minute or so, so that the potatoes both dry out and the edges are roughened up. Remove from the heat.
  • Remove the roasting tin from the oven and spoon the heated oil over the potatoes, tossing to mix, then roll each potato in the polenta to coat and place on the roasting tin.
  • Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until nicely crisp, then eat.
The Variations:
  • For plain roasties, just leave out the coating of polenta, or keep the polenta and add to it by sprinkling some grated parmesan over the roasties about 5 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Now, don't forget -- the crispier on the outside the better. The softer on the inside, the better! You will love these, they are amazing!

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