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Two Ways for Fondant Potatoes

March 19, 2010

The first ever recipe(s!) from Experimental Wednesday!

I had never quite understood the fuss about fondant potatoes and when Jim McJim and I were putting together ideas for the first ever Experimental Wednesday I *had* to have a go.

Now, it being an Experiment Wednesday, we needed to add an element of experimentation; a show down. Jim McJim suggested the “under the roast” method, while the alternative would be a more traditional method. This was provided by the Hairy Bikers – who’s recipe book is actually quite the little gem, I decided, having not really come across them before in printed form. I don’t have the book with me, but with a little research (and my memory) I’ve managed to write-up the recipes. You can find our thoughts on how they turned out in the experimental post, but I can recommend going straight to the traditional version!

These will serve 2 as a side.

Lazy Man Fondant Potatoes

You’ve no doubt come across this idea in some form or another; you place the potatoes under a roast and let them absorb the drippings from the join above it. This works particularly well with fatty cuts such as Pork Belly and for roasties is just lovely.

However, with this recipe, I find that while the inside is soft and fluffy, the outside become a rubbery skin. Perhaps it’s the potato type, perhaps it’s the  stock to wine ration, the heat of the oven, or that they needed more/less turning – any which way you look at this, the result is not that good. And as ever, if you have any ideas how to improve these; comment away, but for now I’m sticking to roasties!


  • 2 Maris Piper or Desirée Potatoes – peeled and halved
  • 1 bunch of Thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 100 ml Chicken Stock
  • 100 ml White wine
  • Salt and Pepper

Get Cooking

It couldn’t be more straight forward. Get the olive oil devilishly hot and toss the potatoes in it (they should sizzle when they hit the oil). As soon as they are coated, quickly add the thyme, stock and wine. The amount of liquid should come up about half way, but keep the proportion 50:50 (stock to wine). Season and put the roast on a rack above them. These will take roughly 1 hr at 180 C.

Traditional Fondant Potatoes

From the disappointing, rubbery skinned version to these; melt-in-the-mouth wonderfulness!

Having heard horror stories of lumps of wet, tasteless starch (ugali being a bona fide delicacy by comparison!) and tales of how elusive this technique is to the home cook, I’m happy to report that that is utter rubbish.

It is pretty straight forward and there are three things to keep in mind when attempting this recipe: a) Potato type, b) Watch and check, c) Potato type. Potato varieties are all different and they will react to liquid, heat and fat differently – and frankly, if you’re not keeping an eye on your food to check it’s not mush… well, not much I write here is going to help! With these three considerations in mind, you will create a delicious little side dish.


  • 2 Maris Piper or Desirée Potatoes – peeled
  • 1 Big Clove of Garlic
  • 75g Butter
  • 100 ml Brown Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper

Get Cooking

The method may seem quite complicated, but they’re quick to do. I feel like these are a treat and so go the extra mile so that they are ‘just so’. You could probably cut out some of these little extras without affecting the outcome.

First, prepare your potatoes. Slice off the ends of the potatoes so as to square them off. Cut them into 2.5cm slices. I like to then cut around the sides so they end up looking like barrels. Then, I bevel the very edge at about 45 degrees. That may seem like an extra faff, but I could swear it makes all the difference!

Now, melt the butter (it should seem like a lot) with the crushed garlic in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and gently fry until they are browned on the flat edge without turning them over. Don’t let the butter burn, so be quick to remove off the heat if necessary.

Turn the potatoes over, season well and add the stock so that it reaches up about 1/3 of the potatoes. Cover the pan with foil and turn the heat down to low. Simmer gently until the potatoes are cooked through – keep an eye on them, but try not to check on them so much that it’s pointless sealing them in! This should take about 12-15 mins depending on the number/size of your potatoes.

I can’t describe the excitement of opening the pan to see all that stock and butter absorbed and melted down into a rich, meaty ‘sauce’. I wouldn’t add this to the dish as the spuds will be lovely as they are, but it would be a waste not to take a slice of bread to it!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2010 10:33 am

    I have a weakness for potatoes so I would have liked to see photos to go with these (please :) )

    • March 22, 2010 10:07 pm

      Ah! I hear ya; we did this one before I started the blog and so didn’t think to take pictures (plus the ladies were getting impatient!). I suppose I’ll just have to “force” myself to make it again :P

  2. March 25, 2010 1:09 am

    Actually, I’ve never heard of this before but it sounds like something I’d love, sight unseen! With that said, I’ll have to second Gourmantic and hope that you’ll be inspired to make this again, camera on hand. 8-)

  3. April 9, 2010 9:12 am

    Thanks TangledNoodle – pork belly is so yum; you *have* to try it! Next time I do a Sunday roast I promise you guys I’ll do this and photograph it :)


  1. Experimental Wednesday #1 « FoodslashTech
  2. Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Garlic and Mustard Cream « FoodslashTech

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