No Fuss Oven Chips.
What’s better than a chip? Honestly now though, no joke – what is better than a chip? It’s something that Britain should be really proud of because for all the places I have been in this world, there is no land that has come close to producing a chip of the same quality we as British folk can muster. It’s that simple. It’s a quintessential British item – along with Colman’s mustard and good tea bags – that I miss when I’m abroad. And I already take tea bags and a small tube of Colman’s with me when I travel and I don’t have the nerve to start smuggling potatoes with me wherever I go.
I’ve looked into so many different chip recipes. There’s all the magic methods of cooking them seven hundred times, roasting them, deep frying them, roasting them again, hanging them in a south facing wind, frying them again and all this different nonsense but I’ve discovered that a really good chip can basically be cooked in an oven in one go with a snappy parboil and you will still have that deliciously crunchy exterior with a moist yet fluffy interior.
Mastering a good chip, in my opinion, comes down to two things and that is the way you cut it and ridding it of any excess starch prior to roasting. Flavour can be added but essentially you need the correct shape and the correct roast to it so that it has the capability to crisp up the way you want it too. So this recipe here isn’t really a recipe at all, but my demonstration of how you can bring some oven chips to the table without any fuss.
Take a potato, you want it relatively large but not as big as the huge baking potatoes. Now turn it on it’s side and slide off the end (as you’ll see in the diagram below). Essentially what you’re doing it just giving the potato a flat surface so it can sit on without wobbling. Don’t shave off too much mind as you’re only wasting potato.
With the potato sat cut side down, slice into it vertically into the thickness of the chips you want.. Once this is done, turn each slice onto its side and cut once more into the individual chip shapes that you desire. I like mine less than a chunky pub chip but a lot more than a fast food fry but either way, I definitely keep my skins on so that it crisps up beautifully. Shape and size is not important to me, what is paramount however is that the chips are reasonably the same size/thickness so that they can all take the same amount of time to cook
Now I add these to a big bowl of cold tap water and using my hands, jiggle them about. You’ll start to notice that the water begins to turn cloudy as the starch is released. Ridding the chip of its starch will allow the chip to crisp up all around, and better still, won’t catch the bottom of the tray when you flip them over later which means you won’t have soggy potato bits clinging to your pan. Allow the chips to swim for a little. Go put a load of washing on. Go have a brew. Let them bathe.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Empty the water out of the pan and refill with cold water and place on a hob. Bring this to a boil and parboil the potatoes for roughly 5-7 minutes. Once these have had their parboiling time, drain into a colander and place the dry chips in the colander over the empty pan and allow to sit untouched for roughly 15 minutes. This allows the chips to steam and ‘dry off’ from their par boiling.
Pour a tiny amount of oil on the tray and grease with your hands – or do as I have done and use some baking parchment. Now drain the chips and place them in a tea towel, drying vigorously to ensure they are not soaking wet before tipping them on to the oiled tray. Pour over a little bit of olive oil, enough to moisten the chip but not drench them before scattering with a generous sprinkle of celery salt. This salt is such a handy ingredient, I promise you will use it time and time again. It has such a heady, herbal note to it that brings a foundation root to anything it touches. You’ll be addicted, I swear. Now slip the tray into the oven and roast the chips for 45 minutes, flipping them over once they’ve had 20 minutes.
Chips are a British tradition we should embrace. It’s something we continuously look for when we are abroad and we feel that nothing outside of a pub or a chippy can recreate such a glorious chip. However this recipe incorporates all aspects of a chip we love, salty, crunchy and almost burnished on the outside but with a soft and fluffy chew on the inside.
These are my go to chips every single time I’m having a meal where I feel some crunchy potato sticks are what my body wants. However, I can honestly say I have also made these chips and put them in a bowl and eaten them with nothing other than a hefty dollop of creamy mayonnaise to dip into while sat on the sofa and watching a Sunday film.