Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do The Mash

When I was living in London during my year abroad (many moons ago), it was exceedingly difficult to find tasty food that didn't leave me with an empty wallet and crying for my mommy. Although I loved the Indian food on Brick Lane and the excellent Thai food that was very en vogue back then, there was only so much curry that I could take in a given week. So, as my funds dwindled and I began to see red, I was forced to visit the pub on nights when I wasn't eating out of a can. The pub on the corner was the best deal around, boasting a full fried meal, a half pint of beer or cider, and an appetizer, for 6 quid (about 10 dollars).

Although I look back on the 10 pounds I gained in London with disdain, I must say that I look back on those greasy pub dishes fondly. From the awesome fish and chips to the amazing shepherd's pie and even the truly horrible mushy peas, all of those dishes comforted me when I was poor and lonely in a cold and rain soaked city. One particular dish that I loved but haven't eaten since my time in London is bangers and mash. It's essentially a simple dish of sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy--what can be tastier than that? I'd recently picked up some lovely British bangers at the Greenmarket and decided to go for making the whole authentic dish one night for dinner. I omitted the mushy peas and onions because frankly, I find them ridiculous and flavorless, but did replace them with a simple green salad for some sort of vegetation.

I considered braising the sausages and using the braising liquid as the gravy, but instead went with grilling them and making a quick pan gravy with the drippings. It was a lot faster and I'm never one to say no to some delicious charred flavor. As far as the sausages go, they were your standard bangers with the traditional spices (mustard, sage, etc...). It was actually one huge sausage coil that I cut into a few pieces and slapped directly onto the grill with a little oil to keep them from sticking. The mashed potatoes had the usual milk and butter and some parsley and Parmesan grated in for a little bite. The gravy really brought it all together and had great flavor with all the little caramelized brown bits from the sausages adding some saltiness and depth. This is an excellent dish, and can definitely be adapted for summer by grilling the sausages and serving them with baked potatoes done right on the grill as well (you can even wrap them in foil and stick them right on the charcoal). Here's how I did them:

Bangers and Parmesan Mash with Pan Gravy

6-8 English sausages (even breakfast sausages will do)
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup milk
5 Tbsp butter (3 Tbsp for potatoes, 2 Tbsp for the gravy)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp flour
1 cup broth (chicken, vegetable or beef will do)

1. Boil potatoes in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until tender (15-20 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, grill sausages until browned on all sides and cooked through. Set aside.

3. Mash potatoes and stir in milk, butter, parsley and Parmesan. Set aside.

4. Add remaining butter to grill pan where the sausages were grilled (if you used a slotted grill or barbecue, just use a clean, hot pan). When melted, add flour and whisk to combine until browned, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth, careful to eliminate any lumps.

5. Plate mashed potatoes and top with sausages. Drizzle with gravy and serve. Enjoy!


No comments: