I often avoid buying sour cream as rarely does the recipe call for enough to warrant purchasing a 250g tub. I have searched high and low for anything smaller than that, but to no avail. If only you order it to the gram in the deli section. If it is, someone please tell me! You see our household just doesn’t seem to eat certain creamy substances that often. A block of cheddar? Gone in a week. Yoghurt? One of the items that sends me running to the shops at random hours. But ricotta? Philly cheese? Crème Fraiche? Sour cream? Not so much. I honestly cannot fathom why, but that’s just how it is. So when my dad dashed out for a tub on Monday night, not trusting the spice factor in my sweet potato enchiladas, it put me in a bit of a pickle. What to do with the inevitable left-overs, apart from bake with it? In the end it was my sister who forced made the decision. “Wedges!!” She exclaimed with a fierce glint in her eyes and a stabbing motion of her fork. So wedges it was.
Past attempts have resulted in tough, chewy slabs of potato with little flavour, needing lashings of sour cream and sweet chilli in order to be edible. Now, I know the whole point of making wedges was to use up sour cream, but I did want it to be wedges with sour cream rather than the other way around. Turning to my trusty River Cottage Veg bible, I dusted my elbows and got to work in recreating those cafe wedges, the ones that you devour in minutes and then wonder where on earth they all went. Slightly fragrant with crispy edges and fluffy creamy centre. Need I say more?
You could easily turn these into chips if you prefer the shape, just don’t roast them for quite so long. Despite my pot boiling over a little onto the floor (there’s a first for everything), whilst I was hurriedly hanging out the washing, they turned out nicely. Tip – don’t try to multitask too much when cooking, even if you are female!
The first key to success was par boiling the potatoes before placing in the oven. This not only reduces the time in the oven, but creates that really fluffy centre.
The second was heating the oil and pan before baking the potatoes. In hindsight I would have heated mine even longer and at a higher temperature (approx. 220C), in order to get that super crispy edge.
Thank-fully madam was satisfied. Oh and we finished the sour cream.
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander
6 black peppercorns
½ tsp ground smoky paprika
¼ tsp table salt, plus extra for serving.
500g potatoes, about 3 medium (I used Royal Blue)
3 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C.
Wash and scrub or peel potatoes. Cut in half lengthways, in half again and then once more, to produce 8 wedges from each potato. Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then immediately drain well.
Meanwhile, grind all seeds and the peppercorns together. I used a mortar and pestle, but you could use a food processor for a bigger batch. Stir in the smoky paprika and salt. If you want an extra kick of spice, add pinch of cayenne or chilli powder.
Pour the oil into a shallow roasting dish/baking tray and place in oven for five minutes.
In a large bowl toss the potatoes in the spice mix. Transfer the potatoes to the hot baking tray and turn to coat in the oil. It doesn’t matter if your tongs break up the potatoes a little – it only creates more crispy edges! Roast for 35 – 40 minutes, turning the potatoes half way through, or until golden and crispy.
Sprinkle with a little more salt and serve immediately with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce, or if you are feeling adventurous a spiced yoghurt dip.
Source: Adapted from River Cottage Veg