Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bangers and Mash for St. Patrick's Day

Yes, it's St. Patrick's Day.  So I figured we should have something Irish for lunch.  I thought about Shepherd's Pie-but we just had that a week or so ago.  I thought about corned beef and cabbage-but I remembered watching my hubby make that a few times, and thinking it looked a bit complicated/difficult to get right.  I thought about fish and chips-but I didn't want to mess with the fryer.  So that left one thing: bangers and mash-sausages with mashed potatoes.  Sounds simple enough.  But I wanted it to be Irish style.  So of course I made my way over to google, and searched for recipes.  The first recipe that I found that sounded good was this one for True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy.

I headed to the grocery store to pick up the items I didn't have.  But I had a problem locating 2 items:  the sausage and the red wine.  It called for pork sausage, but I had difficulty finding link sausage with just pork as the meat, unless I were to choose a breakfast sausage-which I didn't want to do.  I settled for a beef sausage because the package had a picture of an Irishman on it*.  Yes, I realize tht is probably a silly reason to choose a sausage, but it worked for me.  Then on to the red wine.  We had some cabernet sauvignon at home for cooking, but there would not be enough in the bottle for this recipe.  And of course I wasn't able to find that exact brand again.  I don't think I have ever purchased wine before, so I had no idea what I was looking at.  I just found a cheap bottle of cabernet sauvignon.  Again, probably a silly reason to choose what I did, but it works for me.

After getting all my hard choices out of the way, I compiled together all the ingredients.

I read through the instructions, and immediately decided to mae a few changes.  For starters, I didn't see the point of cooking the sausages first, and then placing them in the oven to stay warm.  I would just wait to cook them until the meal had mostly been prepared. My other main change I had already actually made at the grocery store.  If I was taking the time to make homemeade mashed potatoes instead of instant, I was using baby reds.  I love having that red peel in the mashed potatoes.  

I started off by preparing the potatoes.  I figured they would take the longest to cook.  Once they were on boiling, I added the other ingredients to the mixing bowl so all I would have to do was add the potatoes after they finished cooking.  I don't think I have ever added mustard powder to a mashed potato recipe before, but I wanted this to be traditional, so I decided to trust the recipe.

Next I started on the gravy.  In retrospect, I actually started on the gravy first.  I had those two onions to chop, and didn't want to have to mess with that while keeping an eye on the stove.  After I got the potatoes on, I melted the butter down and then added the onion until it was nice and translucent.  Then I added the beef broth and red wine.  In the midst of cooking the onion gravy I realized that it didn't call for flour or corn starch.  How could it be a gravy wihout that?  I decided to trust the recipe.  It boiled and boiled for what seemed like an eternity before it finally reduced to half.  And it was certainly not what I would call a gravy-it was much too thin.  I gave in at the end and added about a teaspoon of flour to a cup and added a little bit of the "gravy" to that, mixed it up, and re-added it to the pan.  Of course, seeing how I only used a teaspoon of flour, it didn't thicken much.

The sausages were simple-I just threw them in a pan with a little bit of water so they would steam some.
And of course I needed something green on the plate today, so I kept it simple.

And how could I forget about the potatoes?  Once they finished boiling, I drained them, and then added them to the mixing bowl and let the Kitchenaid do it's magic.

Everything looked great-and trust me, I was more than ready to dig in by the time it was ready!

The sausage was great!  It was a perfect choice for this meal-I'm glad that little Irishman was on the packaging* begging me to buy that pack!
Mashed potatoes-okay-yum!  While I know you can't go wrong with homemade mashed potatoes, I am always trying to add something to make them a little more tasty-heavy cream, or sour cream, or butter.  Turns out they didn't need anything fatty at all-just some powdered mustard.  I know it sounds crazy-but trust me!  I have found the answer to good tasting mashed potatoes in this recipe! 
Not much to say here.  Peas are peas-just plain jane, and nothing special, but it got us eating something green today.
Onion Gravy.  I have a few thoughts here.  For starters, the recipe made too much for the amount of sausage and mashed potatoes.  I would definitely half it next time.  Maybe even quarter it.  I feel like I wasted so much.  Not that it wasn't good-it had an amazing flavor!  It was just so thin, though.  I am not sure if it was supposed to be that way-before making it again, I will have to search out more similar recipes and see if it is supposed to be thick like traditional gravies (in which case I will definitely add more flour), or if it is supposed to be thin like it turned out.  I was fine with the thin-ness;it just didn't seem right to call it gravy when it felt more like a soup that I was pouring over my meat and potatoes.  But again-amazing flavor-and I would not hesitate to make it again with this meal if I could just get to the bottom of the thickness issue.
Overall-great St. Patrick's Day meal!

*So after I purchased the sausages, and told my husband about the reason I purchased them, he informed me that the little guy on the package was not Irish, but German.  I had a good laugh about that.  Please forgive my ignorance. :)

Here is the recipe from the blog:

Prep Time:
15 Min
Cook Time:
50 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 5 Min

Original Recipe Yield 4 servings
  • 4 links pork sausage
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  2. Cook the sausage links in a skillet over medium-low heat until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to an oven-safe dish and move to the preheated oven to keep warm.
  3. Place potatoes into a saucepan over medium heat, cover with water, and boil gently until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Mix in 1/4 cup of butter, milk, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper; mash until fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook the onions until translucent and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and red wine; boil the mixture down to about half its volume, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. To serve, place a sausage onto a serving plate with about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes. Pour the onion gravy over the sausage and potatoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment