Ultimate Budget Christmas Dinner

Ultimate Roast Potatoes, from 12p

Serves 4 adults from 12p each. See the full shopping list here.

1kg white potatoes, 40p (79p/2kg, Farm Stores at Asda)

1 tsp salt, <1p

Water to cover

4 tbsp or 50g lard, 8p (39p/250g, Stockwell & Co at Tesco)

Pinch of mixed dried herbs, 1p (30p/18g, Asda)

First lightly scrub your potatoes. I use either a boxfresh sponge scourer, or an all-purpose little cheap and cheerful nail brush, or a clean rough flannel. However you choose, gently remove any dirt lodged in the skin, because you’ll be using the skins later. 

Lightly peel your potatoes, with the lightest of touches, barely shaving the skin off at all. Put the skins in a bowl of cold water to keep them from browning, with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt – you’ll be coming back to those later. 

Cut your spuds into thirds (see the picture attached.)

 Pop your spuds in a saucepan and cover with water. Generously salt it, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes. Make sure your oven is turned onto 190°C. 

Drop your lard into your roasting tin. Drain your spuds well and shake to rough up the edges, this makes them extra crispy but don’t shake them too much or you’ll end up with mash!

Tip them into the roasting tin while they’re still nice and steaming- the residual heat will soften the lard in the tin.

Place the roasting tin on the middle shelf of your oven, for 90 minutes, removing and carefully shaking after 45 minutes to cook evenly and crisp up.

When they’re ready you can pop them in the very bottom of the oven to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

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Filed under: Ultimate Budget Christmas Dinner

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Jack Monroe is an award winning food writer and bestselling author. Books include A Girl Called Jack, A Year In 120 Recipes and Cooking On A Bootstrap. She has won the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink award (ironically), the Observer Food Monthly Best Food Blog, Marie Claire 'Woman At The Top', Red Magazine's 'Red Hot Women', the YMCA Courage & Inspiration Award, the Woman Of The Year Entrepreneur award, the Women Of The Future media award and many more. She works with Oxfam, the Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, Plan Zheroes, the Food Chain and many food banks, schools and childrens centres to teach people to cook and eat well on a low income, and campaigns against the causes of poverty and austerity in Britain and abroad.