Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy
What makes good bangers and mash? Quality, quantity, or flavour? Well I guess for me it can be all three. It's very rare that I will order bangers and mash when out for dinner. It's so easy to make and it never tastes as good as when you make it at home or have friends make it for you. For the the mash is 98% of the time just wrong!
We are lucky to have a proper good butcher just around the corner. Have you seen the hunk of beautiful beef he supplied us with for Christmas? (See the Very Slow Rare Roast Beef post.) He makes his own sausages: Pork, beef and venison! In some ways the beef and venison are a bit too posh for mash! I like a good old traditional pork sausage.
Here's a little confession - I always get a little nervous when it comes to gravy. Some people have the knack. I however feel like I fumble my way through, 9 out of 10 times it's a winner.
Top tip - taste, taste, taste and then when you think you have it right taste again! Every time I cook bangers and mash I do it differently! Oven roast, grill or fry, it all depends on how much work I want to do.
Oven roast is the easiest, you just have to throw them in, may be with some garlic and definitely with lots onions. Must always have onions. Onion gravy: YumCars!
I believe I have worked out a fail safe bangers and mash. I have tried this recipe out quite a lot over the cold months. It was hard work, but worth it!
It's not the healthiest way of cooking the sausages but let me tell you it's the tastiest! I take six sausages and arrange them around the out side of the frying pan. We have a massive cast iron pan so they have loads of space to fry. To be honest I only do it this way because it looks good! Fry the sausages to give colour, you need to get the colour on the sausages now because when you add the onions there will be too much moisture to brown them.
To the centre of the frying pan I add two to three thinly sliced red and white onions (oh and a few crushed garlic cloves, maybe a bay leaf, some peppercorns things to give the gravy depth of flavour) . I also add a good pinch of sugar. Not sure if it's true, but I think this helps with the caramelising. You can not taste it in the end dish but I feel that it makes a difference. Time to fry, fry, fry. Let the house fill with the smell of fried onion. It will make everyone that enters smile. I promise!
While the sausages are cooking and the onions are getting sticky, peel the potatoes and get them on the boil. They will take about 30mins (20mins to cook, two mins to steam once drained and 8mins to mash and plate up).
While your potatoes are having a salt water jacuzzi and the onions are done to your liking add in enough stock to cover you onions and if you love gravy add enough to cover the sausages. Just remember that the more stock you add, the more diluted the onion flavour will be. I love gravy, but have come to understand that a rich, full in flavour gravy is better than a weak, watery one (I guess this is where my quality part comes in...... The quantity is the mash. I love mash, can not get enough of the stuff!)
Here is a little bit about the gravy: As I said above, you need to taste, taste and taste the gravy again. Tonight's gravy had garlic (added when the onions were frying. Crushed under the knife and thrown in skin on). I also threw in a big pinch of dry rosemary. To finish the gravy off I added stock, a large teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a few splashed of Worcestershire sauce, very very little splashes of chill sauce (just enough so you don't quite know that there is chili in it but it has a slight bite). I also like to add a cap full of vinegar (a dash). It is all about balance, the taste should be sweet from the onions, all you need to do is have the salt, sour and bitter flavours all balance and sing on the tongue!
To serve - pile the mash on the plate, top with the sausages and lots and lots of onions and gravy!