Bangers and Mash
I’ve had a completely enraging Olympics experience this year. So far here are the companies that have ruined a result for me:
Google. I made the mistake of googling a gymnast while watching her perform and they had the results at the very top of the search results.
NPR. Just blurted out results in the middle of the day with no spoiler alert.
NBC. The only company that can air the olympics in the US spoiled themselves with their stupid IPAD app!
NBC is obviously the most enraging. If they aired the competitions live I wouldn’t be so upset because then if you miss it, you miss it. But since they are purposefully delaying popular events, it makes it almost impossible to not stumble across the results ahead of time.
To counter my rage, I thought I would make one of my favorite British dishes, Bangers and Mash, to eat while I watched a competition for which I already knew the winner.
Bangers and Mash
Yield: Serves 4.
8 sausage linked (2 per person), if you are using smaller links like I did, 3-4 per person is a good serving.
2 pounds red potatoes, diced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2-1 cup milk
1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
Onion Gravy: (roughly adapted from this recipe)
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper
1) Cube red potatoes into one inch cubes. Leave the skin on.
2) Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes until they are very soft.
3) Drain potatoes and add in butter and 1/2 cup of milk. Mash until smooth. Stir in garlic if you're using it and season with salt and pepper. You might need to add a bit more milk to make the mash really smooth.
1) Add spinach to a large skillet over medium heat and drizzle with oil. Cook for a minute or two until spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat and set aside until needed. There's no need to keep it warm.
For Sausage and Gravy:
1) Add sausage to a medium pot over medium-low heat with a small drizzle of oil. Cook slowly until the sausages are browned on all sides and cooked through. If you cook them too fast they might burst which will dry them out so try to keep them on medium-low heat.
2) After 20 minutes or so, the sausages should be cooked. Remove them and keep them warm in a 250 degree oven.
3) Add sliced onions to pan where sausage cooked. Add butter and oil and put over medium heat. Use juices from onions to scrape up any sausage bits stuck to pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft.
4) Stir in sugar, vinegar, and beef stock. Bring to a slight simmer and simmer for five minutes.
5) Stir together corn starch and water in a small bowl. Pour that slurry into the gravy and stir well. It should thicken immediately.
6) If gravy becomes too thick, add more stock to thin it out a bit. If it is too thin, just let it simmer and it should thicken. Season gravy with salt and pepper.
For each serving, give a big scoop of mash with spinach. Top with a few sausages and gravy.
Mash and Spinach
I had my first traditional bangers and mash in Brighton Beach, England a few years ago and the one thing I remember from it was they they had sauteed spinach on the mashed potatoes. I loved this touch and have remembered it ever since.
So I added that in for my homemade version.
For the mash, I used red potatoes because you can leave the skins on and it makes for a nice rustic mash.
Just boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Then drain them and mash in the butter, milk, and garlic if you are using it.
Season it with salt and pepper and you’re all set. You can obviously make the mash while you are working on other parts of the dish, but if it is done early just stick a lid on the pot and keep them over very low heat to keep them warm until you need them.
The spinach is even easier. Just add it to a skillet with a drizzle of oil.
Remember that spinach wilts like crazy so if you start with a bunch…
You’ll still end up with a little…
This was the perfect amount for two servings and I used about three ounces of spinach.
Once it is cooked, you don’t need to keep it warm. It’ll warm up once you pile it on hot mashed potatoes and cover it in gravy.
There is a specific kind of sausage that the Brits like to use for this dish, but I wouldn’t worry about finding it. Almost any sausage will do the trick. I like to use a mild pork one.
For this version, I found these cute little guys from Continental Sausage that were great.
But don’t freak out about the exact sausage type. Just use what you can find.
The key to cooking these is to cook them over medium-low heat. Bangers get their name from when you heat sausage too quickly in the pan they can burst (BANG!). If you cook them slow though, they will just brown nicely and cook through which is what you want.
After about twenty minutes of cooking and turning you should be in good shape.
Once your sausages are cooked, remove them and keep them warm in a 250 degree oven.
Then add your onions to the same pot with the butter and oil. See all that brown stuff on the pan in the above photo? That’s flavor for the gravy!
Cook the onions on medium heat for about 6 minutes until they turn translucent. Use the moisture from the onions to scrape up the brown bits in the pan.
Then stir in the beef stock, sugar, and vinegar. Bring it to a simmer and simmer the gravy for about five minutes.
At this point the gravy will be pretty thin. To thicken it, stir together the water and corn starch in a small bowl and then stir that slurry into the gravy.
The gravy should thicken immediately. In fact, my version got too thick.
If that happens to yours, add more beef stock (I added another 1/2 cup) and then that should thin it out.
The perfect consistency for this gravy will leave a streak in the pan if you scrape a spatula across the bottom.
Serving the Dish
Serving this sucker is not rocket science.
Pile high a big scoop of mashed potatoes and pile on some spinach.
Then add on a few sausage links and cover the whole thing with the onion gravy.
Even in the summer time, I was happy to eat this great plate of food.
Even if the British Olympics have been less than awesome in the viewing department thanks to NBC botching the whole thing, at least they inspired me to make this truly delicious dish.
It’s wholesome and fairly simple to make, but it’ll leave a smile on your face.