Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Bangers and Mash
I absolutely love anything British and love trying out classic English recipes for fun. My latest experiment was with the prototypical pub food, Bangers and Mash (a.k.a. sausage, gravy and mashed potatoes). I remember reading years ago that Kate Winslet had Bangers and Mash at her wedding reception and if it's good enough for Kate, it's good enough for me; I have wanted to try them ever since then.
This is another ridiculously easy recipe. I began by putting a bit of oil into my trusty Le Creuset pan, putting the sausages on top and throwing the whole thing in the oven at 400 Fahrenheit for half an hour or so. As there are no British sausages to be found where I live I used Toulouse sausages. These are my favourite kind but they are not always available.
After half an hour when they were nice and golden I flipped them and put them in for another 15 minutes. I know it seems like a long cooking time for sausages but they were quite thick and The Husband likes the outside to be crispy and well browned. As you can maybe make out, enough fat was rendered during the process to make a cardiologist weep in frustration, but those are the excellent makings of pan drippings for gravy.
I've never understood why people buy gravy in a can or as powder in a pouch. It seriously is one of the easiest things to make. After the first time that I made it my reaction was, "that's all??". It was a bit like that scened in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain and they see that the Wizard of Oz is just some guy with a microphone, it looks complicated but the explanation is rather simple. Here is how I make gravy:
Take the fat and the pan drippings (don't drain it no matter what the health magazines might say because that would be throwing away flavour), and add some chopped shallots/onions/mushrooms. When your additions are cooked add a few tablespoons of flour. Add a bit more or a bit less depending on how much fat you have. Let that brown for a minutes or so and dump in some wine or whatever other hard liquor you want to use and some chicken/beef broth. Crank up the heat to a mad boil and whisk away. After a few minutes it will have thickened. Add salt and pepper as needed and any herbs you might wish to use.
That's the basic formula for gravy. I know there are recipes that start with deglazing the pan with wine but I find that adding the flour to the fat first and then the wine is more foolproof in terms of avoiding lumps. The method above works with any kind of meat and the flavour can be modified easily with different herbs etc.
Here is my gravy at a fevered boil after I had added some pepper.
Here is a "banger" resting comfortably on a pillowy bed of "mash" draped with a layer of savoury gravy. The Husband heartily approved of this dish. This is one of those guy food recipes. Potatoes, meat and gravy are always an instant winner with anyone of the male persuasion. The only thing missing from this was a pint of ale.