About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Fire-Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes cooked right on the hearth of an open fireplace.

Any baking potato will do, these were russet burbanks. It's difficult to give exact directions on how to go about it as there are a couple of variables - how hot the coals are, how far the potatoes are from them and how large they are. The cooking distance also influences the flavour; the closer the spuds, the more they char and get that baked-in-the-fire taste.

These potatoes took about an hour and a half, but weren't particularly close, though they finished up on the coals for the last ten minutes. Here's how to go about it.

Tear a double thickness of aluminium foil, enough to comfortably wrap a single potato, allow one large potato per person. Place the potatoes no further than six inches from the coals and cook for about 30 minutes, then turn around to cook the other side. They are cooked when a wooden skewer passes easily through them. If you like a slightly charred flavour, put the foil packets directly on the coals for the last ten minutes.

There are other ways to get different flavours too. Pierce the potatoes all over with a knife and insert slivers of garlic, rosemary or anything else you like, even pieces of truffle, into the gashes. If bacon's your thing, wrap streaky bacon around the spuds as well, all before wrapping with the foil. The bacon might be too charred to eat, depending on how closely to the coals you place the spuds, but its porky goodness will suffuse itself throughout.

Sour cream, butter, salt and fresh ground pepper are all good serving partners.
  posted at 1:14 pm

At 3:25 pm, Blogger Ed Charles said...

Butter, salt and pepper and a good homemade winter coleslaw. lovely.

At 6:36 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with Ed, butter, sea salt & pepper. I love fire roasted spuds, reminds me of my childhood & camping.

At 7:43 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow. I'm sure you're doing these just to tease me. You know what a potato freak I am.
I wish I had a place for a fire like that!
Short of that I'm thinking just a baked potato skewered with a rosemary twig would be nice.
And yes pass the butter please!

At 8:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lovely childhood memory for me, thanks Neil! Delicious.

At 4:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best potatoes i have ever eaten were slit, pieces of carrot and onion put in, then wrapped in foil and cooked in the fire. yum.

At 10:17 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi ed, I'm a butter lover too. Nice suggestion about the winter coleslaw, we had ours with a pork chop, but going vegetarian is an excellent idea.

Hi gobbler, I' with you on your choices. They are definitely a camping staple; we are lucky enough to have an open fireplace, but unlucky we are two floors up, it's a long way with a sack of wood.

Hi tanna, I think the rosemary skewer is a great idea, Sorry to tease, but I didn't get the other thing done. Soon.

Hi duncan, they are so primal too and a source of satisfaction when , as a child, you cook your first one. Heaven.

Hi anon, there's the three veg right there! What a great idea, sounds scrumptious.

At 4:22 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

WHAT a Good Idea.

And you've had me giggling over 'porky goodness' for some time.

At 2:51 am, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Delicious! We used to make potatoes like this when I was a kid.

At 9:43 am, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Potatoes cooked this way remind me of camping; there's nothing better than the crisp skin and soft insides, slathered with sweet butter and black pepper. Oh boy.

At 2:32 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi lucy, I hope you mean that in a good way!

Hi kalyn, I'd bet there are many people who would have a childhood memory like that. These days, it's a bit harder to arrange.

Hi lydia, you make them sound so much better than I did! Great treat, aren't they.

At 4:17 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

In a VERY good way Neil!

At 6:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Satay sauce, a dash of fish sauce and slivers of spring onion.

Or barbecued parmaspuds: slice them through thickly, top with mozzarella cheese and leftover napoli sauce and finish off under the grill.

At 6:09 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kitchen hand, I must be really insular, never thinking of the Asian route, both suggestions sound sooo good!

At 10:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspired by the fun that you can have in an open fire on a cold night- I went home and did exactly what you suggested Neil. It was wonderful. I never thought of our loungeroom fire as a way to prepare food. My other half and I had a good laugh and a bottle of red while these bad boys cooked! Thanks for bringing a new dimension to our kitchen- the loungeroom!

At 1:36 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi anon, open fireplaces are wasteful of wood, but there is nothing like them for atmosphere. Glad your bad boys worked out, a good bottle of red is a very good idea!

At 5:28 pm, Blogger Ran said...

do you think we could do this in out slow combustion wood heater? I guess it is too hot in there, maybe if the fire has burnt right down. They are more efficient but i want to cook in it too!

At 10:10 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi ran, you will be happy to know that I have cooked these in a slow combustion heater as well. You just need to let the fire get to the point you would normally have it and pop those spuds right in. You're right, it is hot in there, but not impoosibly so. Start checking after 30 minutes or so.

At 11:38 am, Blogger Ran said...

i tried this on the weekend Neil and they turned out perfectly! This is going to become a regular at our place I think due to a potato loving hubbie. I made a slow cooked chilli con carne with it and lots of sour cream.

Thanks for the idea!

At 2:14 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hey ran, well done! No need stop at potatoes either, how does roasted eggplant sound, or indeed anything that you can wrap in foil.

At 11:43 pm, Anonymous Slow combustion heaters Sydney said...

These ideas are very good.The methods for flavour are very nice.Slow combustion heaters Sydney

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At 5:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been doing this in slow combustion oven for years. Just push hot coals back about 4" from the glass, core big spuds and pack with strong cheese, use the core cut into four and use 2 pieces to plug spud ends, wipe over with butter and wrap in foil. 20 mins per side will do it. If alfoil just touches the coals...no problem, just a better coloured spud at the end. Mark downunder.


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