Friday, July 20, 2018

Bangers and Mash

I’ve got deadlines circling around my head like planes coming in for a landing at a crowded airport, and my thoughts of cooking lean toward “what do I have in the fridge?” and “what is quick and easy?” Plus we’re limping through another heat wave, which further discourages complicated cooking.

One of the ingredients I know I have is Irish bangers. Huh? Bangers are sausage that seem to contain more bread product (which can vary) than meat, but I am ridiculously fond of them. They’re hard to find—only one local market seems to carry them, and then only frozen—so when I find any I usually buy a couple of packages.

Ingredients list
But for the Irish and English and even a few Australians, they are simply comfort food: sausages and mashed potatoes, usually accompanied by onion gravy.

Note: there are lots of recipes online, which range from simple to ridiculous. Gordon Ramsey has one, as does Ina Garten. Some people add herbs, or even cabbage. Me, I opted for simple and traditional. 

BTW, one source I read claimed that the term “bangers” originated because the sausages used to burst (or go “bang!”) when they were cooking, because of the dried bread mixed with the meat. Who really knows?

Bangers and Mash


1 pound potatoes (the floury ones, not the waxy ones—you want a soft mash), peeled and cubed (another note: all the good healthy stuff is in the peel—you won’t mind if I leave it on the potatoes, will you?)

4 links of pork sausage (bangers—each serving takes two)

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp dry mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste


2 medium onions, sliced
3 Tblsp butter
3 Tblsp flour
2 cups beef broth


Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the saucepan. Add 3 Tblsp butter and 1/3 cup milk and mash (if they’re too stiff, add more milk). Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Heat 3 Tblsp butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the sliced onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are browned (about 15 minutes). 

Flour added
Sprinkle the cooked onions with the flour and mix until the flour is evenly distributed. Stirring constantly, pour the beef stock over the onion mixture. Bring to a simmer (still stirring!) over high heat, then lower to medium and cook until thickened (about 6 minutes). Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

Finished gravy

Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Turn down the heat to medium-low, Place the bangers in the skillet and brown on one side (about 5 minutes), then turn them over and cover the pan. Cook another 5-6 minutes.

Place a pile of mash on each plate. Place two bangers on each pile of mash, then top with the onion gravy. 

Serve with brown ale and strong mustard.

This is a very forgiving recipe. Use whatever sausage links you have on hand. Slice or dice your onions. Swap chicken stock for beef stock. Add some red wine to the gravy if you’re in the mood.

It ain't exactly gourmet, but it sure tasted good! Enjoy!

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  1. Brats & sauerkraut is one of our favorite meals. My husband grills the brats & they are delicious & very definitely comfort food. My husband is of Czech descent. He grew up in a small predominantly Czech-German town where one family ran the best meat market ever. They make their own sausage which is really, really good but since we no longer live in that town I've had to switch to brats. Thanks for the onion gravy recipe & for sharing your writing talent with us.

  2. I like Bangers and Mash but they are hard to find here.

    1. I know. I asked at our usual market and they said they carried them only around St. Patrick's Day.

  3. Would love to find bangers here and make this. Sounds delicious. I may have to improvise.

  4. It was the extremely high fat content at one time that caused the sausages to explode.

    1. I'd believe it. Most likely the fat and the carbs far outweighed (and were cheaper than) whatever meat went into them.

  5. Yum. I love comfort food. Especially when it's easy to make.

  6. Your recipes looks easy and sounds delicious. I think I can manage it but will probably have to improvise a little. It kind of reminds me of the biscuits and sausage gravy that I grew up on. I love comfort food. It is always so interesting to discover the comfort foods of other countries.

  7. Brilliant!
    My local Fresh Market often has bangers. They are lovely.