I felt pretty awful when I woke up today. I went to bed last night with a bit of a sore throat and woke up this morning with head-to-toe body aches and a throat that looked like a wad of ground chuck. Yuck.
So I took a few Nurofen Plus (Yeah, we can get ibuprofen with codeine over the counter in England, what whaaat!) plopped onto the sofa and crawled under a blanket to catch up on some TV, movies and endless tea drinking. Even after a few hours of staring at the TV, (If you haven't seen the movie Harry Brown, you need to.) I wasn't feeling well enough to make the Guinness cupcakes I had planned. What did keep me going though, was the prospect of one of the best British comfort foods there is- Bangers and Mash.
I bought some lovely Free Range Gloucester Old Spot sausages at Waitrose this week and thought I'd give my stepson a lesson in mashed potatoes 101.
I'm excited to report that Christian, who is now 14 and studyling for his GCSE exams has decided that he wants to be a chef when he grows up. I've been teaching him bits and pieces over the past seven years, mostly as a way to get him to like foods he had decided he hated. Now he likes nearly everything going and frequently asks to help me out when I'm preparing dinner.
To be honest, sometimes it's a pain in the ass because he makes such a MESS and takes a fortnight to dice an onion or devein a shrimp but he's getting there....
So yeah, tonight was bangers and mash night. I made a Guinness and onion gravy and feel MUCH better now thank you and NOT just because I have a pint and a half in me now.
The quality of the sausages you buy are important. If your sausage choices are limited where you live, a good Bratwurst would be do well. Wherever you are, look for a pork meat content of 80% or higher.
Bangers and Creamy Mash With Guinness and Onion Gravy
serves 4, takes 35-40 minutes
8 Large, free range pork sausages
6 large floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or Russet
2 tbsp butter
2ooml (40z) single cream (whipping cream)
2 large onions, sliced thinly
2* 440ml cans Guinness Draught
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp pommery grain mustard or dijon
2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Open the first can of Guinness and take a long swig.
Peel the potatoes and cut into large, even-sized chunks. Bring to a boil in a large saucepan of salted water and continue to boil for a further 10-12 minutes until tender to the tip of a sharp knife, drain.
Meanwhile, heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and brown the sausages well on all sides. Remove them to a plate and toss in the onions, frying for 4-5 minutes until going golden brown and starting to soften.
Have another swig of Guinness.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well through the onions, allowing the flour to cook a little and begin to go brown. Quickly add a few ladles full of the water the potatoes are cooking in and stir through the onions, following right away with about *3/4 can of Guiness, the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic and a good sprinkle of salt.
Open the second can of Guinness, take a long swig. (if like me, you have ibuprofen and codeine sloshing around in your head, you might want to take it a little easy until you're no longer around open flame...)
Put the sausages back in the pan, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for
about ten minutes. During this time, the potatoes will finish cooking and you'll have drained them. Let them steam dry for a few minutes before using (your step son holding) a potato ricer to make a lovely fluffy pile of dry mash.
In the saucepan you used to cook the potatoes, melt the butter with the cream, some salt and the white pepper. When nice and hot, tip in the riced potato and stir well, adding a little milk if the mixture is too thick. Taste test for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
When the gravy is nice and thick, turn off the heat under the sausages. Scoop a big heap of the mashed potatoes onto plates with a couple of sausages and big spoonfuls of the luscious gravy.
Scatter with the sliced spring onions and take to the table along with your can of Guinness and a pot of Colman's Mustard.
To be honest, if I was feeling better -and wasn't high on codeine- I would have done a heap of buttered cabbage or Vivch carrots to accompany this gorgeous pile of comfort. I got no complaints from the guys, but I do like to serve up a decent amount of veg with dinner.
Time for another Guinness now, Happy St Paddy's Day!