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November 2020 / Food & Drink / by Liz Skone James

Recipe: Ollie’s Roast Potatoes

Exciting news from a Heath-side favourite: Ollie Pudney and Joe Swiers of The Bull & Last have produced a book revealing the secrets behind dishes like their killer Scotch eggs. Much more than simply a cookbook, though, it also tells the stories of the pub’s loyal customers and four-legged friends, explores the history of the Heath and shares anecdotes from staff. To celebrate its release, we asked the boys to share one of their favourite recipes: they’ve chosen their classic roasties. Ollie says: “Serve these crispy little numbers with our roast beef or roast chicken, or with something Middle Eastern, perhaps our lamb ribs. I find that a very heavy cast-iron oven tray produces the best roasties, but if you don’t have one, just use your heaviest roasting tin. Leave out the pistachios and chilli if you want more traditional roasts.”

Ingredients

  • 2kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • 5–6 tbsp light rapeseed oil
  • 20g unsalted butter, diced
  • 10g thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 50g unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (or 2, if you want the potatoes to have a proper kick)
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the potato chunks in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a good pinch of salt. Bring the water to the boil and cook the potatoes for 10–15 minutes, or until you can push a knife into the centre of a piece of potato without too much resistance (you want them par-cooked, not fully cooked). Drain through a colander and ruffle them a little, being careful not to break them up.
  3. Pour the rapeseed oil into a heavy cast-iron oven tray (or non-stick roasting tin) – you want enough to cover the base of the tray – and place it in the oven to heat up for 5 minutes.
  4. When the oil is very hot, remove the tray and carefully tip the boiled potatoes into the tray. Baste the potatoes in the oil then return the tray to the oven. Leave them to roast for about 20 minutes, then remove the tray and turn the potatoes. Return to the oven and continue to turn them every 15–20 minutes, until they are crisp and golden on all sides – they will need about 1 hour in the oven. Remove from the oven when the potatoes are ready, and while they’re still in the tray season with salt, and add the butter and the thyme. I love this moment – it makes a few crackles and pops! Move the spuds around in the tray so they all get that buttery crust, tip in the pistachios and chilli and toss again. Remove from the roasting tray and serve.

Chef’s Note: If you want to get ahead, par-cook the potatoes the day before you want to serve them, ruffle them as above, then lay them out on a tray, cool then chill in the fridge overnight. This will help them dry out and can actually improve them when roasted.

The Bull & Last by Ollie Pudney and Joe Swiers, £30. Published November 5 (thebullandlast.co.uk)