If you haven’t already, please make sure you’re familiar with basic knife safety before starting this tutorial. (link)
Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates, and there are a lot of different ways to cook them. The chunks we’re making in this tutorial are really versatile, so they’re a great place to start.
Like with carrots, a lot of the minerals in a potato are right underneath the skin, so it’s best to avoid peeling it all off if you can. Do wash your potatoes though; use clean water and a clean washing-up brush for scrubbing.
Next, check your potato over for any discolouration or blemishes. Pay special attention to green discolouration of the potato – the green colour itself won’t hurt you, but it can indicate there’s something else there you don’t want to eat (more information here and here). Also cut out any ‘eyes’ – these are black spots surrounded by an indentation, that can grow into sprouts. Potato sprouts themselves aren’t good to eat either – cut them out and check that the potato around them hasn’t gone squishy.
There are a couple of good ways to cut out blemishes from a potato. The first is, just like we did with carrots, to cut a small ‘V’ shape around the spot. Since a potato is round, it’s a little harder to deal with than a carrot, so you might need to make three or more cuts. Alternatively, you might find it easier to cut out things like eyes after you’ve cut the potato a bit smaller.
Potatoes come in a lot of different sizes. The size of chunks we’re aiming for is about 2cm (a little under 1 inch) on each side, so if you have baby or new potatoes, they may not need to be chopped any smaller. For larger potatoes, start by chopping them in half. This gives you a flat surface to rest the potato on while you chop it, which makes it safer. You can then simply keep on halving your potato until the chunks are roughly the right size (see picture).
Nice, even-sized chunks will cook at about the same time, and absorb any flavours from herbs, spices, or sauces evenly too.
These potato chunks are perfect for roasts and casseroles, which take about 2 hours to cook in an oven at Gas Mark 4 (180°C, 160°C in a fan oven). They’re also great boiled, which takes about 20-30 minutes. Like carrots, once they’re cooked, they should be soft enough to easily poke a fork into.