Bangers and Mash w/ Onion Gravy (aka Sausages and Mashed Potato)…This is a classic English meal and one that sits close to my heart. Anything resembling a sausage casserole on top of a soft, cloud-like pillow of mashed potato is my ultimate comfort food. If it’s on the menu at a restaurant I will order it over anything else that is there – I have passed up (maybe foolishly) some amazing meals just to try that particular restaurant’s Bangers and Mash.
There are only three elements to this dish – three perfect elements, and if one fails it will pull the other two down leaving you with nothing more than an English Private School canteen lunch (right up there with their Mushy Pea’s… Blah! That taste will forever be etched on my taste buds!)
To start with, you need to get the best sausages you know of. Here I have chosen the thick beef sausages from Hudson Meats. They are a ‘paddock to plate’ butcher and pride themselves on using regional farms to source their produce.
The potatoes for the mash should be the floury kind, such as a Coliban or King Edward but there are some fantastic multi purpose ones like Sebago, Pontiac or Desiree. My favourite would be the Royal Blue. It has purple skin and a yellow flesh and is great for mashing and baking.
Lastly is the brown onion gravy. A high quality beef stock is all important. You can buy it but if you are so inclined then make your own highly nutrient rich bone broth with high quality bones from animals that have lived the good life… Pasture fed from go to whoa is what you want. If you are going to the effort to make it then make it worth it.
Place the bones in a pot, top with cold water and leave to soak for about an hour with 1/4 cup of vinegar. This process is vital to drawing out the nutrients within the bones. Remove the bones, pat them dry and then brown them in a hot oven with some vegetables. Throw all the browned bones and vegetables into a pot with enough water to cover them (you can use the soaking liquid if you choose) and leave to simmer away for as long as 36-48 hours if you can.
Tip: The longer the bones are left to simmer the greater amount of nutrients you will draw out of them, but if you can’t wait that long for some stock then you can strain what you have and then top up with water again and begin the process over – easy! The bones will keep leaching their goodies – and a benefit is that the second stock will be less intense in flavour so you have two options for your cooking needs, just throw in a few browned chicken wings for the gelatin.
You can add herbs to the stock but I like to keep my stocks quite ‘nude’ so I can alter them as I need to.
To cook this dish I like to brown the sausages, then make the gravy. Place both in a baking dish and finish off the sausages cooking time in the oven, herein lies the ‘casserole’ style that I’m particularly fond of! I haven’t come across anyone else who does it this way, so let me know if it’s converted you?
Comfort food at it’s most sublime… Blondie