Not quite as high class as yer pommes fondants, these are a sleazy cousin, accustomed to loitering in the back alley. To feed four as the principal side dish you will need:
- 800g medium-sized waxy potatoes, i.e. Charlottes
- 1 clove garlic
- 500mL stock
- at least 50g butter, and optionally
- some herbs; maybe a bay leaf or a few sprigs of thyme
You’ll also need a broad shallow casserole or frying pan, into which the spuds will fit in a single layer. If it’s quite heavy and retains its heat well, and comes with a lid, then all the better.
- Assess how thick skinned your potatoes are. If you’re using Charlottes, then you won’t need to peel them, just slice them in half down the long axis. If you’re using bigger potatoes, then make sure they’re chopped up into pieces of roughly equal size, so they all cook through at the same time.
- Melt the butter in the pan, and throw in the chopped garlic, with a teensy splodge of vegetable oil to stop the butter burning, and fry ’til the garlic is pale gold.
- Add the potatoes, stock and herbs, and bring to a vicious boil, then reduce to a simmer. The liquid should just about cover the spuds, if not, a splash of hot water from a freshly boiled kettle will suffice.
- Now, here’s the tricky part. Just like pommes fondants, they’re done when they’re done, and not before, so you’ll need to poke the potatoes with a metal skewer every so often, until it goes through easily. You’ll notice that as matters proceed, the liquid is reducing or being absorbed into the potatoes.
- The ideal end state is that you end up with potatoes that are cooked through, and a small amount of sticky liquid left at the bottom of the pan. If the spuds are putting up a fight, you may need to add a splash of hot water. If the squds are cooking nicely, but you’ve got too much liquid, you may need to turn up the heat. That’s alright. Waxy potatoes are forgiving.
- Have a taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Once they’re done, turn the heat off and bung a lid on whilst you’re doing other things. This is where one of those enamelled cast iron things comes into its own. (Don’t bother with Le Creuset, though, just get a cheap knock-off.)