The English are not world famous for their ‘haute cuisine’ – and I say this with all due respect. Honestly, no one can top their original Fish & Chips, Sausage Rolls, Meat Pasties (that’s pronounced “Pah-sties, guys….not to be confused with you-know-what!!!), Yorkshire Pudding, a Pint of Bitters, etc.
I’ll never forget my first trip to England and my cousin’s wife showing us the most beautiful Porterhouse steaks and told us she splurged and paid nearly £3 per pound for them (equivalent to $6 a pound – when both the £ and the $ had real value!), then proceeded to cook them to overly well done and ask if she needed to put them back on the fire! I could have used them for resoling my shoes, they were so tough! But, as usual, I digress.
Since I’ve been on the subject of comfort foods in these recent blogs, here’s one I learned from an English friend now living comfortably in New Zealand. She always laughed when I tried to say “Bangers’. She said I sounded like an American Jewish girl from greater New York (I’m from Cleveland, Ohio), and couldn’t get it to sound right. Oh well, it’s the taste – not the sound – that makes ME drool at the thought. In fact, that’s what I had for dinner last night!
She always went to a special (not English) market and asked for “pork sausages, fat” and fat and garlicky they were. She used a British standby for the gravy – Bisto (which is available here) and usually just served the bangers with the onion gravy and mashed potatoes as her Mum did. Many serve it with peas – too much starch for me, so I follow her lead.
Simple and quick to make – filling and a stick-to-the-ribs kind of dinner. Add a salad if you like, beer is great with this, and you probably won’t want dessert….well…maybe just a cookie or three!
Bangers & Mash with Onion Gravy
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- 1-2 medium onions, sliced thinly
- 1-2 Bangers (English Pork Sausages) per person
- 1 c boiling water **
- 5 tsps. Bisto Instant Gravy Mix for Beef **
Poke a few holes in the bangers so they don’t explode when you sauté them. They are fully cooked (at least the ones I get are) so you are just giving them some color and heating them up thoroughly.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet (large enough to hold all the bangers – or 2 if you need to), heat until hot, then add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom. You want it to just barely glaze the bottom – not have any depth.
Sauté the onions until they are just beginning to caramelize stirring occasionally so they color evenly, over medium heat. Move the onions to the edge of the pan(s) and add the bangers in the center. (If the ends touch the onions, that’s OK.) Cook the bangers, turning occasionally, and brown on all sides.
When they are just about done, turn heat off and cover. ** You can prepare your own beef or pork gravy if you wish, but for a more authentic taste, use Bisto. It’s available in the English section – or Foreign Foods – section of many grocery stores and comes in several flavors. So easy to use, it’s scary!
In a medium saucepan, place the Bisto granules and pour in BOILING water. Stir and it will thicken into a smooth gravy. Add the cooked onions to the gravy. If the gravy is too thick for your liking, add boiling water, a teaspoon at a time, until it is the consistency you like.
Serve each person a 1 or 2 bangers over or alongside a serving of mashed potatoes and pour some of the onion gravy over.
** This amount makes 1 cup gravy. If I’m making for myself, I either make half a recipe (and have more than enough for 2 bangers) or make a full recipe and freeze the rest for next time. If you freeze the gravy, with or without onions, be sure to leave at least 1” headroom. Once you go to reheat it, it will take a little time to smooth out, but it will. Add a teaspoon or two of water if it needs to be thinner.)