The last thing I need is to get addicted to another comfort food, but I’m afraid that’s exactly what’s happened. And what is it? Bangers and mash, that British pub classic you may not have tried, but you’ve probably at least heard of. It’s basically sausage, mashed potatoes, and gravy but with some adds that I think makes it absolutely magical.
So, What’s A Banger?
First of all, lets talk bangers. Search out and find a simple pork sausage in a casing such as bratwurst. I think the best are the ones purchased fresh from your butcher. They are called bangers because of what’s in the sausages. According to my research, after the outbreak of WW I, quality meat was difficult to come by, so they would add other nonmeat ingredients to the sausages such as inferior meats, cereal, and water. As a result, when they were cooking, the sausages would hiss and oftentimes pop open, and thus that’s how they got the name “bangers.”
I’ll take the contents of one of the four sausages and fry that up into a crumble. This will be added later to the gravy as it is cooking. Before cooking the rest I cut up the sausage into bite-size pieces and fry them up in a pan.
The mash is usually some form of peeled and cooked yellow potatoes that are mashed, but I prefer what I call “smashed” potatoes. I purchase small red potatoes, leave the skins on, cut them up, place them in a bamboo steamer rack over boiling water in a wok, and cook them until they are fork tender (about ten minutes). I transfer them to a bowl, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, a bit of butter, and milk (be careful not to add too much or it will get runny). Then I simply smash the potatoes against the side of the bowl with a fork.
Next I cut up and saute’ half of an onion in some butter/oil in another skillet, and set it aside. You can leave it in the skillet to warm it up later.
The Proof Is In The Gravy
The stout gravy is the coup de grâce. What makes it so? Well, first of all the stout beer that’s been added gives it a special flavor, but I also add Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, and beef demi-glace (to enrich the taste and the color), and then add and cook in the sausage crumble. I kid you not – THIS IS THE BEST GRAVY I’VE EVER TASTED. BAR NONE.
Assembly is very straightforward. To a plate or bowl, add a healthy scoop of the potatoes to one side and layer a bed of onions on the other. Add the bite-size sausage pieces over the top of the onions, and pour gravy over everything. A couple pieces of bread to mop up the soppy, a small dish of peas, a pint of stout, and there you have it. If I’m ever in a situation where I need to order my last meal, this would be it. SERIOUSLY.
Special Culinary Equipment:
Bangers And Mash
1 poundPotatoes, small red
Enough to be able to mashMilk whole
To tasteSalt and pepper
1 teaspoonfulGarlic Powder
1/2 MediumOnion yellow
12 ounces (about 4 sausages)Sausage, bratwurst, pork, fresh
2 Tablespoonfuls + 1 teaspoonfulFlour
3/4 cupBeef stock
1/2 cupStout beer
1 TablespoonfulWorcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoonfulMustard yellow
1/4 teaspoonfulGarlic powder
1/4 teaspoonfulOnion powder
Have ingredients ready in mise en place dishes.
Slice onion into narrow 2-3″ strips.
Cut up potatoes and add to wicker steamer basket over water in the wok.
Take one sausage and remove the contents. Add to a small skillet and cook until it crumbles.
Cut up the rest of the sausages into bite-size pieces.
Time: 60 Minutes
Add some EVOO to a skillet. Start the sausages cooking over medium heat (may need to be turned down a bit later). Cook and turn them every couple of minutes. Remove from heat when they are well cooked throughout (and internal temperature is 160 degrees).
Remove skillet from heat. May need to warm up a bit later.
Start the potatoes cooking. Once the water is boiling, cooking time is about 10 minutes. When finished pour the cooked potatoes into a bowl, add the butter, a bit of milk, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder. With a fork smash the potatoes against the sides of the bowl. Add a bit more milk if you think you need it. DON’T ADD TOO MUCH.
Saute’ the onion strips in a butter/oil mix. When finished place in bowl and set aside.
This skillet will be used to make the gravy.
To the empty medium skillet add two tablespoonfuls of butter and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk into the butter over medium heat. Allow mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes whisking constantly.
Slowly add in the stout and the beef stock while continuously whisking. Add the sausage crumble. Add mustard, beef demi-glace, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder and incorporate into mixture. Allow gravy to boil while whisking . Once it thickens, drop the temperature to low, cover and keep warm.
To each bowl or plate, add a heaping scoop of potatoes on one side of the plate and a bed of onions on the other side. Add the bite-sized pieces of sausage to the top of the onions. Cover both sides with gravy.
This is a hearty meal and doesn’t need much else. We like to have a side of peas and a couple pieces of bread to mop up the soppy. Pair with a pint of Guinness. Prepare to be amazed.