Monday, 3 August 2009

Summer sausage fun

Bangers and mash is usually thought of as a hearty winter warming dish, but as it's one of my favourites I thought I'd give it a bit of a makeover for the summer. It's lighter, more seasonal and a bit healthier as sweet potatoes don't need gallons of butter in order to mash well and taste good.

This recipe, as per usual, is nice and simple. The only tips I would really make for a real novice would be to check the seasoning, particularly in the sweet potatoes, and keep an eye on the temperature of the onions (and the amount of oil in the pan) to help them caramelise without burning. As with normal bangers and mash, it relies on two main things for good flavour - top quality sausages and a real gravy made with caramelised onions and good stock.

  • 4 good quality butcher's sausages
  • 4 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 onions, cut into half moons
  • 2 gloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • About 400ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 200ml cider
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • A few handfuls of parsley
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsps butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour (optional)
  1. Heat the oil to a medium-high heat in a pan. Add the garlic and herb sprigs and fry them for a few seconds until they're fragrant. Add the sausages, brown them on all sides, them remove them to a plate.
  2. Add the onions and reduce the heat to a medium-low level. When they've started to turn transcluscent, lower the heat even more and cover the pan. Stir the onions occasionally and let them gently fry for 20-30 minutes or until they've caramelised.
  3. Meanwhile, start the sweet potatoes off in lightly salted cold water and bring them to the boil from there, then simmer briskly until the potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). When they slide off a knife, they are tender enough, and you should drain them to avoid letting them get soggy. Put them back on the ring for a minute on a very low heat to let the excess water in the pan evaporate.
  4. Put the sausages back in, raise the heat and add a splash of cider to the pan., along with the flour if you're using it. Boil the cider until it's reduced by half, then add the stock. Bring the stock back to the boil and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes until it has reduced. Season to taste as you go along.
  5. As a finishing touch for the potatoes, grab a bit of parsley and chop it up roughly using a very sharp knife, then mash it into the sweet potatoes.

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