A Brit taught me how to cook.

Believe me, I just was just as shocked as you are. But before you start writing that angry letter, please indulge me whilst I explain.

Her name was Emma. A tattooed fiery little thing from Scarborough that I’d met while trying to find a roommate in Amsterdam. Both of us were about to be homeless. Through our mutual plight in a foreign land, we decided to be homeless together.

We squatted in various homes under the guise of “housesitting” until we could find a place of our own. Even though we were watching someone else’s television, sleeping in a bed that was not ours, and eating at another person’s table, we made ourselves at home by cooking.

I cooked for her. She cooked for me. And we scoured the market for foods to play with that were new to both of us.

And then we had our first fight…over how to cook carrots. She swore up and down that the only way to cook carrots was to boil them. That is how her mother had done it, and how her grandmother had done it, and so on ad nauseum. I insisted that they be roasted. It got ugly. Then the great America vs. Britain debate entered the conversation, and all hell broke loose.

Despite our differences, we made peace. She liked my roasted carrots. And she taught how to make potatoes that I continue to swoon over…with chicken fat.

Yes, you read that correctly. And they are as sinfully delicious as they sound. Baby potatoes are parboiled, then roasted (practically fried) in chicken fat until the edges are golden and crispy, and the insides melt with fatty goodness.

These potatoes changed my life….and it was all thanks to an excellent British cook.

Chicken Fat Potatoes Recipe

There are two ways to procure some chicken fat for this recipe. Buy it jarred, or the lovelier and fresher method, roast a chicken. As the chicken roasts, the fat begins to melt off which then “fries” the potatoes. I prefer the latter. Here’s what you do….

2 lbs new or baby gold potatoes, peeled
1 3-4lb chicken or 1/2 c chicken fat
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Boil peeled potatoes until outside is tender, but center is still partly raw. Drain and put potatoes back in the pot. Put lid on the pot, and holding it firmly, shake the pot so it makes the surface of the potatoes “furry”. This creates little ridges that will become crispy in the oven.

If using store-bought chicken fat, pour fat onto a sheet pan and toss in the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Roast in oven for 35-40m until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking.

If using a chicken, pat down the chicken until dry. Generously salt and pepper its insides. Using twine, truss the chicken. Place chicken in center of sheet pan.

Salt and pepper the skin generously. Spread potatoes around pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast chicken for 50-60m until internal temp reaches 162F. Toss potatoes half way through cooking to coat in rendered chicken fat. Once chicken is done, transfer to plate and loosely cover in foil to rest for 15m. Cover potatoes to keep warm or continue roasting if needed.

You will not regret these potatoes, despite their classy name. Incidentally, the chicken is not bad either.

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