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Garlic and lemon poached potatoes

Updated: Sat, 20 April, 2024

Garlic lemon and thyme flavoured new potatoes cooked in the most ingenious manner: gently poached in oil. Their flavour is amazing, and the potatoes are not at all greasy.

garlic and lemon poached potatoes

What are Jersey Royals?

Jersey Royals are the earliest and arguably the nicest new potatoes you get in the UK.

They are grown on the island of Jersey, just off the coast of England, where the milder (relatively) and warmer (comparably) climate lets them turn up earlier than mainland England. But the flavour is unmatched and comes from the seaweed that is used to fertilise the soil on the island.

They’ve been grown there since the 19th century, first called Jersey Royal Flukes and they were an accidental find of an enormous spud at a local market stall. Planted in the ground, it cropped with little ones, kidney shaped and tremendously tasty.

Buy them grubby, cook them simple

Those lovely little beauties should be bought from a farmer’s market, or at least a market stall which sells them properly covered with soil, dirty and scrubbable.

Buy washed ones from the supermarket and you might as well be eating GM so-called new potatoes grown in the middle of December under a polytunnel in Abu Dhabi. No flavour in those as far as I can judge.

Besides, scrubbing new potatoes is a springtime ritual you shouldn’t miss. The effort will pay off in taste, and that comes into its own when new potatoes, Jersey Royals especially, are cooked simply.

Boil them in salty water until just tender, though sometimes they take surprisingly long for such tiny things: between twenty minutes and half an hour. Then serve them with butter and salt, and some chopped chives or dill, just for the colour.

jersey royal potatoes

How to prepare new potatoes

I say wash and gently scrub, with a vegetable brush or one of those handy scrubbing gloves.

The point is only to clean them rather to divest them of the delicate skins that are a/ delicious and b/ where all the fibre and most nutrients hide. So if you do buy yours from the supermarket, ready-washed, you can cook them straight away.

But as said above, I do prefer the soil-covered, grubby spuds even though scrubbing is laborious. Even more so if your loot is of tiny, almost pea-sized baby newbies. But everybody knows those are the loveliest so laborious it may well be, but it’s a labour of love.

Poaching in oil

I know what I said about cooking simply, but this is an absolutely gorgeous recipe and poaching in oil is actually a very gentle method.

You’d think that cooked this way they’d taste like roast potatoes but they taste more like steamed, and so lemony, garlicky and thymey you wish your roast meat would take on flavours like this. It’s a great recipe from Tom Kerridge featured in the BBC Good Food magazine.

For this recipe the spuds shouldn’t be tiny but medium and even sized.

Once they land in an oven dish with a lid, big enough to fit them tightly packed, but by no means in a single layer, add the aromatics. Unpeeled garlic cloves, a handful of peppercorns, a sprinkling of salt and some lemon slices, the thyme sprigs tucked in amongst the potatoes, then pour in enough oil to leave just the tops of the potatoes sticking out.

Do not use olive oil, that would be wasteful. Good rapeseed or groundnut oil will be adequate.

The casserole goes in the oven now, tightly covered, for between one and two hours or until the potatoes are tender to a prod of a pointy knife.

potatoes in a pot

How to serve oil poached potatoes?

Once they’re tender and have been resting out of the oven for ten minutes, you can either scoop them out with a slotted spoon or carefully drain the oil into a heatproof container.

The oil must be reserved, for flavouring meats, fish or other vegetables including plain boiled new potatoes. It can be used in dressings, once cold, or to brush anything prepared for a BBQ.

I like to serve them just with new season stir fried spring cabbage and lots of dill. It makes a wonderful springtime dinner.

new potatoes poached in oil with garlic and lemon

More new potato recipes

How to cook and serve new potatoes? Lightly crushed, dressed with garlic, mint and dill with some chopped olives. The best new potatoes are Jersey Royal of course, but pick your own local ones if Jerseys are not available.

New potatoes sautéed with spinach. This recipe for sautéed new potatoes has them boiled first and then fried in plenty of butter with spinach and capers.

Warm new potato salad with asparagus and bacon. Great recipe for a salad which doesn’t need more than a little vinaigrette if you serve it cold. Instead of new potatoes, small waxy salad potatoes can be used.

More oven baked potato recipes

Recipe for potatoes boulangère, or baker’s potatoes: sliced thinly and baked in stock in the oven with thinly sliced onions and a little butter.. A simple side of potatoes boulangère is traditional with beef bourguignon.

Hasselback potatoes with cheese and cream, baked into a crusty gratin. This must be the best potato gratin recipe, made with cheesy hasselbacks - and you don’t need to master the ‘almost slice’ hasselback technique so the recipe is really easy.

Crispy, smashed and roasted potatoes with tangy cream topping, so glorious you can skip the meat from your Sunday or Christmas roast.

oil poached new potatoes

Garlic and lemon poached potatoes

Servings: 4Time: 2 hours


  • 800g (2 pounds) new potatoes, Jersey Royal or your best local equivalent
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp black and white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a few sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 300ml (1½ cups) good rapeseed or groundnut oil


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Wash the potatoes and scrub if they need it, cut larger ones in half. Divide the garlic heads into cloves but leave them unpeeled. Slice the lemon.

2. Place the potatoes into a casserole dish with a lid, add the garlic cloves, peppercorns, sprinkle over the salt and tuck the lemon slices and thyme sprigs in between the potatoes. Pour in the oil, there should be enough to almost, but not completely, cover them.

3. Cover with the lid and bake for 1 – 1¼ hours. Check with the tip of a knife if the potatoes are tender.

4. Let them rest, covered, for 10 minutes, then drain off the oil or scoop the potatoes and the garlic out of the oil into a serving dish.

Originally published: Fri, 6 May, 2016

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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