Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bangers and Mash

England isn't exactly known for it's stellar cuisine, but it does have some amazing homey favorites.  And they all seem to have fantastic names.  Toad in a Hole is my favorite, but I also love Bangers and Mash.  And what's better, it tastes great. Hard to lose there. 
Bangers are sausages, not the Jimmy Dean variety but more the six-inch-long, 1-inch diameter variety.  Lots of grocery stores sell them in the meat department (behind the counter), or you can quite easily make your own, which is what I'm going to do in this recipe.  If you do happen to find some nice Cumberland Sausages, you can use those and skip ahead to the baking directions.

Bangers and Mash with Onions
Adapted from Jamie Oliver 

1 lb ground pork meat (or lamb, or beef, or whatever you'd like)
3 T bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tsp dry sage, divided
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry savory or tarragon (I prefer tarragon)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 stem fresh rosemary, leaves picked (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
4 lbs russet potatoes
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
2 T butter
2 medium red onions
3 T red wine or balsamic vinegar (I prefer balsamic)
1 chicken or beef bullion cube
1 1/2 cups water
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F and spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tsp sage, thyme, savory or tarragon, pepper, and salt.  Mix well with hands, then divide into two.  Form each half into a sausage on the baking sheet, approximately 8 inches long.  Arrange the garlic on top of the sausages, then sprinkle with rosemary leaves.  Drizzle with olive oil, then bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes (if desired), chop into cubes and boil in salted water until tender.  When tender, drain, return to pot, and add milk or butter milk and butter and mash until smooth.  If you'd like, you can throw in a teaspoon of minced garlic.  Cover and put on a low burner until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the onions.  Place onions in a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When onions are tender and beginning to brown, remove cover and turn heat to medium-high, stirring until browned.  Add vinegar and let boil until vinegar is mostly evaporated, then add bullion cube and water.  Let boil until it reaches a gravy-like consistency.

To assemble, put a large mound of mashed potatoes on a serving plate.  Cut sausage in half, then cut in half through the length, and place pieces on top of the potatoes.  Top with onions and serve.
Serves 4.

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