Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Bangers and mash

Another pub classic! For my non-British readers, "bangers and mash" basically means sausages with mashed potato, usually served with a rich onion gravy. In the olden days when there were cave paintings of people killing woolly mammoths (also known as the Bradfield Village News circa 2009) sausages tended to explode (hence "bangers") so you needed to prick them with a knife before cooking. Today, British sausages are of a much better quality so this isn't necessary.

Ingredients (to serve 4):
  • 12 good sausages such as pork and leek, Cumberland, Lincolnshire, or (even better) from your local butcher!
  • 2 large red onions (you can use white ones but in my opinion red ones are nicer)
  • 250ml good dark ale (I used Black Sheep)
  • 500ml good beef stock (i.e. not cubes!)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1kg good potatoes for mashing e.g. desiree, King Edward or Maris Piper
  • 1 generous tsp wholegrain mustard
  • Leaves from a couple of thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 knobs of butter
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Splash of milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees, and heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the butter.
  2. Peel the onions and chop them into half-moons. Put them in the pan with the olive oil and butter. Peel and crush the garlic and add it after a couple of minutes. After a few minutes, turn the heat down fairly low and cook gently for about half an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the onions from sticking, until the onions have caramelised nicely.
  3. Meanwhile, peel your potatoes and chop them into golf-ball sized pieces. Put them in a large saucepan with cold, salted water. Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until they're tender (they will slide off the end of your knife easily when this has happened). Drain the water well and put them back on the ring for a minute to let the remaining moisture evaporate, shaking the pan frequently to prevent the potatoes from sticking and burning, then remove from the heat.
  4. Add the ale to the saucepan and bring it to the boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge the sediment, and add the Worcestershire sauce and thyme leaves. Once it's reached boiling point, reduce the heat to a brisk simmer and reduce the ale by half.
  5. Put the sausages on a baking tray and drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Cook them in the oven for about 15 minutes, then add them to the gravy for ten minutes until cooked through.
  6. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil and reduce it by half, making sure the sausages are cooked through before serving. Season to taste.
  7. Mash the potatoes with the butter and season to taste. Heat the milk in the microwave and add a little splash of it into the pan. Mix it into the the potatoes until the mixture is smooth, then stir in the mustard.
  8. Serve generous portions!

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