The surprising thing is that, like me, you may have lived your whole life without discovering these soft, buttery, crispy potatoes. Who would ever have thought that pan frying thick slices of potato in butter and then finishing them in the oven in chicken stock would produce such soft-hearted crisp-shelled magic? This wonderful dish is so simple and delicious that once you try them there’s no going back. They can be almost a meal in themselves, but as a side you’ll be either eating them first or leaving them until that last delicious bite. Use the largest, white potatoes you can find and try them out on family and friends.

Fondant Potatoes Recipe

1 large potato per person, the unwashed ones are best, this will give you 2 fondant potatoes each
2 generous tablespoons butter, more if you are doing a large quantity
salt & pepper
a few fresh thyme sprigs if you have them or 1 teaspoon of dried if not
1 cup of chicken stock*

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut off the pointiest, rounded ends. Slice the remainder across the middle to make two thick slices of potato, each with large flat sides. Saute, all together, in the melted butter on top of the stove but in a solid oven-proof pan. The heat needs to be medium, hot enough to furiously bubble but not burn. Cook for a good 20 minutes, turning occasionally. They’ll go golden and crispy on the outside but stay firm inside.  Take the pan from the heat and carefully add the cup of chicken stock, sprinkle the tops with salt, pepper and thyme. Then they go into the oven for at least a half an hour, probably longer, until soft all the way through. The oven time will depend on the size of your potatoes and how many in the pan and add a little more stock if it reduces too quickly.  Baste them if you like and cook spares, you’ll need them and they reheat wonderfully. If you want to cook quicker, you can also add a lid but you’ll need to remove it at the end and crisp the tops again under higher heat.

Aim for very tender, golden on both sides and slightly crispy or crunchy on top, with a reduced pan sediment of buttery chicken jus, but don’t worry, they’re equally delicious with just the color and if you love them as much as me, you’ll get lots of practice making your perfect fondant potatoes.

Notes: *You can easily make these potatoes vegetarian by using Massel chicken style stock which has no animal products.

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Have you tried this recipe? We would love to hear your comments below…


5 Responses to Fondant Potatoes

  1. Thom says:

    I made fondant potatoes for a let’s-watch-the-royal-wedding dinner party earlier this year, with some roast lamb cutlets and asparagus. May have been the best meal I’ve cooked solo actually. Can’t remember which type of potatoes I used though, seem to remember the recipe telling me to use a specific type. Hard ones? Soft ones? Not sure now. Any ideas?

    • Thom, I prefer the large unwashed potatoes, called dirt potatoes. They won’t have a name in the shops but are usually Kennebec or Sebago. Desiree, the red ones are fine, but like Coliban are at their best quality from January to October. Coliban are the washed white ones, they’re OK but a little floury. There’s a new one also, called Kestrel, you can’t miss it; it’s the white one with purple eyes. They all fry and roast well. But just buy the biggest ones you can find, which are usually the unwashed,freshest ones. Our poor potato growers are having too good a season evidently, having to plow their crops back in, so we can all help them out by eating more. Maybe I’ll have to post another one of our great potato recipes soon.

  2. Andrew says:

    mmmm… I made these last night and they were brilliant. I’m glad I took your advice to put a couple of spares in – can’t wait to have them for lunch!

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