Potatoes With a Fat Advantage

Posted November 6, 2018 6:23 p.m. EST

Roasted duck fat potatoes, in New York. Crisp and brown at the edges, with a fluffy interior and a deep, brawny flavor, it is a potato taken to its highest form. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Courtney de Wet. (Christopher Testani/The New York Times)

There’s no roasted potato like a duck fat-roasted potato. Crisp and brown at the edges, with a fluffy interior and a deep, brawny flavor, it is a potato taken to its highest form.

We like to slather the tiniest yellow potatoes we can find with duck fat, toss them into a pan and then put them in the oven while the turkey roasts, so their skins turn brittle and brown. You might feel you have your starches covered between sweet potatoes and the stuffing, but these potatoes will persuade you to make room on your plate.

Because I roast potatoes almost all year long, I always keep a jar of homemade duck fat on hand. When supplies run low, I’ll sauté a couple of duck breasts for dinner, decanting the golden fat into a container in the freezer. This is yet another trick I learned this from my mother, who would say, “Why buy duck fat when you can get it for free from a duck?”

Chicken fat also works here. My father sometimes used a classic onion-laden schmaltz for his roasted potatoes, though not for Thanksgiving. He was too focused on trying to perfect the turkey.

Since there’s usually at least one vegetarian at our Thanksgiving table, I often make a separate pan of olive oil-roasted potatoes, using the same timing and proportions. Though they’re less rich, the potatoes still turn crunchy and golden, and make a gorgeous contrast to all the other soft textures on the plate.

Cooking tips: Potatoes

— To roast these potatoes in the oven alongside your turkey, place the pan on the rack under the turkey when you first start roasting your bird, then reheat the potatoes at 350 degrees while your turkey rests.

— Bacon fat, chicken fat or olive oil can be substituted for the duck fat.

— Rosemary makes a fragrant, powerful substitute for the thyme.

— Don’t neglect to eat the garlic, which gets soft and sweet as it roasts, and is wonderful with the potatoes.

———Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Total time: 1 hour

3 pounds baby or small potatoes, halved if large

1/4 cup duck fat, melted

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf, torn into pieces

6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, duck fat, salt and pepper. Lay thyme sprigs and bay leaves on top.

2. Roast for 30 minutes, then toss the garlic into the potatoes and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until potatoes are fork-tender, another 15 to 25 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves and serve, or let cool for up to an hour then reheat, uncovered, at 350 degrees just before serving.