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16 Mar 2010

Roasted Potatoes with meat

Everyone loves oven-roasted potatoes, don't they? They are a classic side to a meat roast, and so easy to throw in a pan and leave to their own devices. You can also add your own touches, such as meat or garlic - or even cheese, as we did in the Roasted Potatoes with meat, Cheese, and Parsley (see full recipe below) pictured. Here, some easy tips to make the outside crispy while keeping the inside fluffy.
1. Parboil them first, then score them with a fork to leave raised ridges that will get crunchy.
2. Sprinkle parboiled cut-up spuds with semolina or polenta to make a crispy coating
3. Bake them in a metal pan rather than a glass or Pyrex one.
4. Roast them at a high temperature or in the hottest part of the oven if they have to share with other dishes.
5. If they aren't crispified to perfection when the rest of your meal is ready, pop them under the broiler for a few minutes.
Roasted Potatoes with meat, Cheese, and Parsley

Yield: Makes 8 (side dish) servings
Active time: 30 min
Total time: 1 1/2 hr
You've encountered a million potato-meat-cheese combos in your lifetime, but in retrospect they all seem to be rehearsals for this one, a classic of Miraglia Eriquez's Calabrian grandmother Mary Pacella, who immigrated to Brooklyn in 1934. Crispness abounds, from the meat to the slight crust on the roasted potatoes, yielding to creamy, very potatoey interiors.
Ingredients
Preparation
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in lowest position.
Generously cover potatoes with cold water in a 4-quart pot and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small sharp knife, about 12 minutes. Drain. Cool potatoes to warm, then peel and cut in half crosswise.
Cook meat in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until cooked through but still flexible. Drain on paper towels, reserving fat in skillet.
Brush bottom of a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan with oil and half of reserved meat fat. Sprinkle potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and arrange, cut sides down, in baking pan. Bake until undersides are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Turn potatoes over, then sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and garlic and drizzle with remaining meat fat (if fat congeals, reheat briefly over medium heat). Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
Cooks' notes:
· Potatoes can be boiled and peeled 1 day ahead and chilled in an airtight container.
· Potatoes, without cheese, meat, garlic, and meat fat, can be baked 6 hours ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature. Turn potatoes over and proceed with recipe, baking a little longer. If baking at same time as stuffing, leave oven temperature at 425°F.