Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bangers & Mash - My take

 I have a dear friend, who like me is something of an Anglophile. We like Brit Sci-Fi, British mysteries and British accents. Every year for her birthday I try to make her something with a little UK flair. Sometimes it's shepherd's pie, last year it was chicken Tika. This year I took a stab at bangers and mash - sausages and mashed potatoes. I looked around for recipes and actually ended up going with something more Italian for the sausages that I saw on The Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.  I decided to give her roasted sausages and grapes a try. Here's the link to her recipe. And here's how I made it. It's crazy simple with only a few ingredients.  Let's start with grapes. You need a couple of big bunches of them. I went half white seedless and half red seedless.

First, get all of these babies off the stem. This is the most complicated part of the entire recipe.

Now let's get that oven heating to 500 sizzlin' degrees. Ina don't play. She says to take 3 pounds of Italian Sausages (she used a mix of hot and sweet, I only used the sweet) and put them in a pot parboil for a few minutes to remove fat. I actually used 5 lbs of sausages and I think that would be just right for six people. Everyone is going to want at least two sausages.

You aren't cooking the sausages, just boiling off excess fat. And they will leave a lot behind. This is what I had after about seven minutes of boiling.

Gross.......Sorry about that folks. I have this beautiful roasting pan. They got for around a hundred bucks, but I scored it for forty at the Calphalon Warehouse sale. I only use it a few times a year, but the purchase was worth it. I'll be using it more now to make these sausages.

The best thing about this big sturdy gal, besides those strong handles, is that I can set it across two burners on the stove and do stuff like make gravy from pan dripping or melt 3 tablespoons of butter.

Once the butter is melted, you could add the grapes and coat them.

Then a couple of glugs of red wine. She suggests Chianti. I used Malbec cause I had some.

Let it cook for a little bit over medium heat until the wine starts to evaporate and it all gets a little sticky. Turn off the burners and put those parboiled sausages in with the grapes.

All snug as bugs in a rug. Put this in the oven and cook for about twenty-five minutes. Flip the sausages half way through.

Now let's slice up some Yukon Gold potatoes for our mash. This time I'll peel them, though I usuall don't. Yukon Golds have a nice think skin that makes for a good smashed potato, but I want a really smooth mash. So peel these beauties and slice them  and put them in a big old pot of salted water. Now let's get to boiling.

Boil until they are fork tender. Meanwhile, let's take about a quarter of a cup of cream or half and half with around two tablespoons of butter and melt those together in a sauce pan or in the microwave.

Once those potatoes are fork tender, we're going to drain them and put them through a food mill or a potato ricer. You could use a potato masher, but a ricer or a food mill give you an incredible texture.

Once the potatoes are mashed, milled or riced - slowly add in the milk and cream mixture stirring carefully with a spoon to make sure it is all absored and the potatoes don't get soppy. Salt and pepper generously.

These will be creamy and delicious. And by now, the sausages should be done.

Put that pan back across the two burners on low hear and had a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Stir it all around, coating everything with the vinegar until it reduces and gets kid of syrupy. Turn off the heat and plate the sausages with a good helping of the delicously reduced grapes and sauce and a big old dollop of the creamy mashed potatoes. Do it on a rectangular plate. That makes it cool.

Oh and I made this for dessert

Peanut butter chocoalte caramel whipped cream banana trifle.  It has nothign to do with bangers or mash or Britain. I just thought it looked delicious.  So kudos to Ina for bringing me this simple and delicious recipe that I plan on making again many times.

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