Freeze-ahead roast potatoes taste (and look) better than fresh ones. Please, hear me out you doubters - this really is a gamechanger ...
There is a huge tradition for roast dinners in the UK. The Sunday Roast is an institution, but to be honest, it was never really a big thing in our family. And that's probably the reason why a roast is not something that I do very often. There's too much last-minute preparation for me - too much time in a hot and steamy kitchen, too much washing up afterwards.
And in the same vein, the traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings is not what I want to be cooking on such a special day. I want to enjoy Christmas day, not be a slave to it. I make all the time-consuming stuff in advance (the gravy, the side dishes, the cranberry sauce) and then freeze it all ready for the big day
The thought of making anything from scratch on Christmas Day is a big no-no, with a Santa hat on top, for me. And especially anything that creates extra mess and washing up like roast potatoes.
Who knew that you can do all the messy preparation (peel, par-boil, shake in the pan, wash up) beforehand and freeze the potatoes all ready to roast? I bet you like the sound of that.
So how do Freeze-Ahead Roast Potatoes fit into our Christmas dinner?
Only in Dubai could you buy 'Christmas Dinner in a Box' - my grandmother would turn in her grave! It really is genius and good value too. The big hotels and restaurants with big ovens to match, prepare your turkey (and the trimmings too if you choose) and you collect at your chosen time and go home to enjoy. Maybe it isn't 'only in Dubai'? Perhaps hotels and restaurants do this the world over? Whatever - it's inspired.
In order to avoid the inevitable debate about who will do the collection on Christmas day, we've developed a family tradition of going to the beach on Christmas morning, when EVERYBODY has to go into the sea. It's a bit on the chilly side of comfortable (if you are a wussy desert dweller like me), so charging into the water ... and charging straight out again, is the only way. And the 'Christmas Dinner in a Box' hotel is right next door so it's the perfect pit stop en route home.
The turkey is always sensational - the trimmings less so and in particular the roast potatoes. They're fine ... just not quite how you'd make them yourself. And I have a solution to that which doesn't load the kitchen with excessive mess and hassle when I least want it - and which is probably going to also be of help to you.
Freeze-ahead Roast Potatoes are a really helpful tip, for Christmas and all through the year.
But how can you be sure that Freeze-Ahead Roast Potatoes are really that good?
I can imagine that there may be a few doubters amongst you, so I got all scientific with a 'Blind Taste Test' - I need no encouragement for such pastimes! So let's get started. There were 3 contenders -
- Freshly roasted
- Parboiled then frozen before roasting
- Roasted then frozen before reheating
The tasting was a family affair and the outcome was unanimous .... DRUM ROLL, DRUM ROLL ....
- In 3rd place was the 'freshly roasted' - SHOCK HORROR! The potato inside was less fluffy and tasted more like a baked potato. I would never have imagined it.
- In 2nd place was the 'roasted then frozen before reheating' - these are the least hassle on Christmas day for sure. They tasted almost as good as the potatoes in 1st place but looked like they had been reheated.
- But in 1st place was the 'parboiled then frozen before roasting'. Looked amazing, tasted amazing. RESULT! I'll never do them any other way now.
And here's how you can make these Freeze-Ahead Roast Potatoes
No tricks required - this is easy stuff. Just choose some nice potatoes - something like a Maris Piper that will give a gorgeous fluffy inside - and find yourself some time before the festive frenzy begins.
Step 1 - Peel the potatoes and cut them into big pieces.
Step 2 - Parboil for 7 minutes then drain well before returning to the pan. Sprinkle over some flour. Put the lid on the pan and shake them around a bit to rough up the edges and to spread the flour around.
Step 3 - Cover a baking tray with baking parchment and lay the potatoes out on it making sure that they don't touch.
Step 4 - Put the tray into the freezer until the potatoes are frozen solid then put them into a large plastic bag in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Step 5 - Roast them whenever you are ready ... goose fat is my preference but olive oil is surprisingly good. Straight from the freezer is fine.
But perhaps the most important part of this tip is to advise you that you should ALWAYS make loads of roast potatoes. Loads and loads and loads.
You can never have too many roast potatoes. Not ever.
... especially when they're as little fuss as these.Print