If I just wrote the ‘recipe’ for Bangers & Mash, you’d see there’s no recipe at all. It’s one of the easiest dishes ever. But oh, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also taste divine. The trick with this dish is to get the best ingredients; preferably Cumberland sausages, nice floury potatoes, not-too-strong onions and some lovely fresh veggies.
First, grill (broil) or fry the sausages. Whichever way you choose, I find it takes about twenty minutes to do them nice and slowly, so they don’t scorch or explode, yet stay juicy and plumptious. Transfer to a dish in a warm oven.
Hopefully by now you’ve got your peeled and quartered spuds (potatoes) on the boil in salted water; simmer until a knife goes into them very easily.
For the gravy, I use English onions (brown onions), as they are more delicate in flavour than Spanish ones. Allow one very small onion per person. You can also use shallots or red onions for a sweeter taste, or even mix them. Slice into rings and put into the pan you used for the sausages so you get the lovely sausagey oil for flavour, but you may need to add extra oil or butter to prevent them burning. Cook them slowly with a lid on the pan until they go translucent, then soft. And then all you do is make your usual gravy on top of this mixture. Although if you’re feeling really naughty, you can add a tablespoon of Madeira. If you have the time to cook the onion gravy earlier, the onions do benefit from being cooked longer and slower.
Drain the potatoes well and put them back on the heat, shaking them vigourously to get rid of the water until they go crumpled and floury-looking (this ensures you avoid soggy old mash). Use a potato masher (or a fork if you must) to mash them up with a dash of milk, a grind or three of pepper and knob of butter (yes, proper butter NOT low fat spread). If you’re feeling particularly decadent, then add a blob of cream or soured cream. Once they look well-mashed, get a big wooden spoon and beat them into submission. Voila! A pile of creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes.
Now all you need to do is nestle it all on a plate with some favourite veggies and as you eat, you’ll start to get all those comfort-food feelings. Pair with a glass of red wine and an old re-run of ‘The Good Life’ and you’ll soon be in seventh heaven.