I have always loved all things British. Maybe it comes from the fact that my grandmother was born in England to two Brits – though one was an expatriate who had been living in Canada before WWI. Or perhaps it’s from the fact that I grew up watching British comedies/TV that was played on PBS (my mom loved those shows). Either way, I am, in my heart, an anglophile.
Now, while England is not renowned at all for their food, there are at least a few dishes that are simply good food (though certainly not gourmet). Bangers and mash is one of those. It certainly falls under the category of comfort food – at least for me – and is a simple, easy dish to prepare while still being absolutely delish.
So when looking for a great bangers and mash recipe, where else should one look but at a British chef? I found this one in Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s Dinners under the Top Ten chapter.
Jamie’s recipe calls for cumberland sausage – which I am unable to get here, so I had to come up with a recipe for it. Cumberland sausage comes from the county of Cumberland in England (now Cumbria), and is distinctive in that it is sold in a long, circular coil rather than in links. As a homemade version, I wasn’t going to go to those lengths (pun intended …) so instead I did it cevapcici style – shorter sausage rolls that are skewered and then grilled. Alternatively, you could cook it on an oiled baking sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Follows is my cumberland sausage recipe (enough for 2 lbs. pork):
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T. white pepper
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 T. dried sage
1 T. chives
1/4 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp mace.
Once you mix the sausage and cook it up, you can move on with the bangers and mash:
While the sausages cook, chop 4 1/2 lbs. potatoes into rough chunks and boil them in salted water until cooked through. Drain, then mash until smooth, adding 5 T. butter, about 1 1/4 cups milk, and seasoning if desired (like 4 T. horseradish). Set this aside, and move on with the onion gravy.
For the gravy, you’ll need:
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced.
5 T. balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 1/2 c. either beef or chicken broth.
Fry the onions slowly in oil (covered)) for about 15 minutes until colored and beautifully soft.Turn the heat up, remove the lid, and deglaze the pan with the vinegar, cooking it down until almost gone. Turn the heat down again, pour in your broth, and simmer until thickened.
To serve it all up:
Put a dollop of the mashed potatoes on a plate, top with a couple sausages and spoon over the gravy.
It truly is, as Jamie writes, “proper comfort food!”