Citizens! Whist reclining upon a gilded palanquin and deep in thought (as is my custom) here in my hidden lair high upon the volcanic summit of Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, a Divine thought manifested itself within me! Surrounded by twin elemental furies – the fires of molten lava and the howling, ice-caked winds of the Pole, it has been decided that it is at last time to share my recipe for a true classic of British cuisine: I speak of nothing less than the intriguingly-named bangers and mash!
Bangers and mash, also known as sausages and mash, is a traditional dish of Great Britain comprising sausages served with mashed potatoes. It may consist of one of a variety of flavored sausages made of pork, lamb, or beef (often specifically Cumberland sausage). The dish is sometimes served with onion gravy, fried onions, or peas.
This dish, even when cooked at home, may be thought of as an example of pub grub, meaning it is relatively quick and easy to make in large quantities. More up-market varieties, with exotic sausages and mashes, are sold in gastropubs, with less sophisticated alternatives being available in regular public houses (pubs).
In 2009, the dish was listed as Britain’s most popular comfort food in a survey commissioned by TV channel Good Food. (TFD also feels that roast pork belly with crackling should fall into this rarefied category!)
The term bangers supposedly originated during World War I, when meat shortages resulted in sausages being made with a number of fillers, notably water, that caused them to explode when cooked. Bangers today still include approximately 10% filler made from grain, and contributes to the proper taste and texture of the sausages for this dish.
The contraction of “mashed potato” to “mashed” rather than “mash” was common among the upper-middle and upper classes in Britain up to the mid-twentieth century.
Few places in England make a finer bangers and mash than the county of Somerset, where apple farms abound and heritage-breed pigs make for unmatched sausages. I have incorporated a classic Somerset ingredient in my version of this recipe – hard apple cider!
It is difficult to find good Somerset Hard Cider in the U.S., but if you can – use it! Failing that, this is my preferred brand of U.S. hard cider.
Of course, the heart and soul of this recipe are proper British bangers – and mercifully, you can order proper classic bangers here in the States – order them here.
I also call for another classic ingredient in my onion gravy – dark British Stout beer! There is only one choice of beer with the right flavor profile for use in bangers and mash, IMHO – and this is it. I also amp up the gravy with a goodly hit of demiglace – you can buy it most inexpensively here.
One heretical but delicious change I have made to the classic onion gravy recipe is to enhance/reinforce the flavor with some roasted garlic and onion jam (which includes some balsamic vinegar) – buy it here. A bit of fresh thyme also works well in this, IMHO.
Citizens, this is a classic comfort food recipe for a reason – please, sally forth and make it at your earliest convenience! While it may be true that British cuisine gets an unjust rap for being heavy or pedestrian, there can be no doubt that my version causes all these false prejudices to evaporate away! 😀
Battle on – the GeneraissimoPrint
- Onion Gravy:
- 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp. butter – TFD prefers Kerry Irish butter in this recipe
- 2 medium onions (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 4 tsp. roasted onion and garlic jam
- 1 ¼ pints rich homemade beef stock
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cold Guinness-style beer (cold)
- Maldon Sea Salt (to taste)
- Freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
- Demiglace to taste
- For the Mash:
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and quartered)
- 6 tbsp. whole milk, preferably from a Jersey cow
- 1 stick butter (cubed) – TFD likes Kerry Irish butter if you can find it
- Salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- For the Sausage:
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 8 Banger sausages
- ¼ cup Somerset Hard Cider if you can find it, or TFD’s preferred substitute
- First, start by making the gravy. Melt the oil and butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and cover with a lid. Cook slowly for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are soft.
- Add the onion jam to the onions and stir well. Cover with the lid and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the thyme, stock and beer and boil gently uncovered for 5 minutes.
- In a heatproof jug or bowl mix the cornstarch with the cold water to a thin paste.
- Pour a little of the hot gravy into the starch mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the starch mixture back into the gravy, raise the heat to high and boil for 10 minutes or until the gravy is slightly thickened. Add demiglace to taste and stir well.
- If you’d like, you can make a smooth gravy by using an immersion blender or keep it chunky, traditional-style. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, start the mashed potato by boiling the potatoes in lightly-salted water until soft.
- Drain, and keep warm until ready to mash.
- While the potatoes are cooking, cook the sausages. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, turn the heat to medium and add the sausages. Fry until the sausages are golden brown and firm, turning them from time to time, about 20 minutes. In the last 7 minutes, add the cider and reduce it down to a glaze with the sausages.
- Once cooked, place in an ovenproof dish and keep warm until the mash and gravy are ready.
- Finish the mash by placing the milk and butter in the pan used to boil the potatoes, return to the heat and warm gently until the butter has melted.
- Add the potatoes and mash using either a potato masher, a fork, or a potato ricer.
- Whip the mashed potato lightly with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the mash onto 4 warmed dinner plates, place two sausages on top of the mash, and pour the gravy over the dish.
- Calories: 793.43 kcal
- Sugar: 9.79 g
- Sodium: 1363.37 mg
- Fat: 55.91 g
- Saturated Fat: 23.88 g
- Trans Fat: 1.21 g
- Carbohydrates: 58.19 g
- Fiber: 6.96 g
- Protein: 17.34 g
- Cholesterol: 113.25 mg
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