Monday, 12 November 2012

British Sausage Week - Proper Bangers n Mash

So last week was British Sausage Week and so when in the butcher we got a couple of links of big thick Yorkshire sausages. The best way to eat them is surely with a big pile of buttery mashed potato and thick onion gravy - good ole bangers 'n' mash. Apparently we so affectionately call the sausage a "banger" because during World War 2, when food was scarce, they filled the sausage full of cereals and water which would cause the sausage to burst open and "bang" when cooking. So, there you go.
There are only 3 components to this meal, and it should be kept this way. Nothing fancy here, but it does rely on quality ingredients to make it stand out. The first thing is the sausage itself. Don't just go for a pre-packed, water-filled cheap sausage. Get yourself to the butcher and pick out the biggest and fattest homemade sausages you can find. Next, the mashed potato. Rush these and you can end up with a bland, watery pile of undercooked starch. Put in some time and you can produce a rich, well seasoned and buttery heap of smooth potato. Finally, the gravy. Do not use pre-packed gravy granules. Ever. But especially with sausage and mash. Instead, use the juices from the sausages to be the base of a thick and flavoursome sauce for your meal. Get these three things right, and you will be making a dish worthy of its great traditions.

This recipe will feed two big appetites.


6 sausages
500g potatoes
1 onion
100g butter
30g flour
salt and pepper


1. Start by peeling your potatoes and place them in a pan of well salted boiling water. Cook for about 25 minutes or until very tender.

2. In a large frying pan, cook the sausages on a medium-high heat. This will probably take about 15-20mins.

3. For the last 10 minutes of cooking the sausages, add the sliced onion to the same pan. When the sausages are cooked, remove from the pan. Cook the onion until soft and sticky.

4. To make the gravy, move the onions into a pile in one corner of the pan. Then, in the free part of the pan, melt 50g butter and then add the flour. Mix together and cook until they form a brown paste (roux)

5. Then mix the onions with the butter/flour paste and add hot water from a kettle to the pan. Use your spoon to scrape the sausage bits off the bottom of the pan. Season well with salt and pepper. (If the gravy is too thick, add more water. If too thin, cook for longer until it reduces.)

6. Finally, when the potatoes are cooked, drain well and return to the pan. Return the pan to the heat to make sure the potatoes are as dry as possible. Throw in the remainder of the butter, plenty of seasoning and then mash.

7. Serve by placing a big spoonful of mashed potato next to the sausages and pour the rich onion gravy over the whole lot.  

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