Friday, October 16, 2009

"Bangers" and Mash

I don't think it needs to be said.  You all know it.  British food gets a bad rap.  I've tried to defend it many a time, but there's no use.  People who trash British food have clearly never had a home cooked, a.k.a. Mum-made British meal.  (Or at least their mum wasn't as good a cook as mine).  Sure, there are a lot of British foods I have no interest in eating, but there are a lot of so-called "American" foods that I have no interest in eating, too.  (Chicken fried steak?  Yuck.)

Anyway, whatever your views on the culinary history of Britain, there is one traditional dish that most non-vegetarian people agree is pretty inoffensive.  Bangers are bready, meaty sausages, extremely heavy and extremely tasty.   I decided to use chicken bratwurst instead.  Feel free to use whatever sausage you like, but the idea is to get one of those already-cooked chicken or turkey sausages with interesting spices and flavors in it.  And who doesn't like mashed potatoes?

Grilled onions provide a deep, luxurious flavor to the sausage.  Simply sauteed spinach picks up the overflow of flavors from the sausage and the onions.  And delicately creamy mashed potatoes provide a pillowy backdrop for the other items on the plate.  Everything here is much healthier than it looks.  And flavor is not sacrificed one little bit.

There is a certain satisfaction in cooking an impromptu meal that takes you back to your childhood.  Even if you didn't grow up with this food, I'll let you borrow a snapshot from my upbringing and see if it doesn't provide the ultimate comfort.

"Bangers" and Mash
serves 3


for the mash

1 lb.  fingerling or similar potatoes, halved or quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup skim milk (more or less)
freshly ground pepper to taste

for the bangers 

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 chicken bratwurst or similar sausages
1 bunch of spinach, thoroughly washed and spun dry


1.  Place potatoes in a medium pot and fill with water, about an inch above the tops of the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and salt the water.  Keep uncovered and cook at a rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and return to the pot. 

2.  Add olive oil and most of the milk, and mash in the pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  If it's too dry, add milk until it's your desired consistency.

3.  While the potatoes are cooking, heat the 1 tablespoon EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and cook until just starting to brown.  Reduce heat to medium and add sausages.  Let cook for a minute or two, then flip the sausages with tongs to brown the other side. 

4.  When sausages and onions are nicely browned, add the spinach to the skillet and immediately cover with a lid.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Let cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until spinach is wilted.

5.  Serve the bangers, mash, and spinach together on a plate.  As an added bonus, serve with HP sauce if you have access to it.  You'll thank me.



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