Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recipes: Bangers and Mash (version 2)

BY: Samuel Parks (March 2012)

Using beer to pre-cook these snappy sausages really enhances their flavors, and when reduced the liquid makes a great gravy for your mash (aka mashed potatoes state-side).  The dish (minus the gravy and green peas and gravy) will be featured at the Nook Tavern this St. Patrick's Day for the the annual party, don't get me started on using a British staple to celebrate SPD.  

The latest interpretation of Bangers 'n Mash

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!


For the bangers:
-10 Irish banger sausages (bratwurst sausages can be substituted, Johnsonville brand is fine)
-2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
-1 oz. fresh thyme
-1/2 oz. fresh sage
-3 oz. fresh parsley
-Olive Oil (for frying)
-24 oz. stout beer 

For the mash:
-5 lbs. russet potatoes
-1/4 cup kosher salt
-1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized chunks (use the guide on the label)
-1 cup sour cream
-5 oz. prepared horseradish
-1-2 cups whole milk (depending on final texture)
-salt and pepper to taste


For the bangers:

The only place I could find "genuine bangers" in Huntsville, was at Fresh Market
Note the considerably "lighter" color of the sausages
 Combine the beer, onions, and herbs in a large pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil (watch the beer closely, as it has a tendency to boil-over quickly!)

The boiling ingredients
Add the bangers/ sausages to the beer and herb mixture.  Cook until the bangers float to the top (approximately 10 minutes).  Remove the sausages and allow them rest for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet/ pan until very hot.  Carefully add the pre-cooked sausages to the pan.  Cook until well seared on all sides, you will need to turn the bangers every 2-3 minutes.

Serve over mashed potatoes, with the reduced boiling ingredients*

Beer Braised Bangers with English Peas and Horsey Mash (as seen at the Nook Dec. 2011)
*to reduce the boiling ingredients, add 3 cups of chicken broth and boil the hell out of the entire concoction until it is substantially thicker.  Taste the gravy and add salt and pepper until you satisfied with the flavor..

For the mash:
(Since the whole purpose behind my blog is to introduce people new foods and cooking techniques, I thought this would be a good opportunity to demonstrate my tried-and-true method for making mashed potatoes.  The final flavorings are up to you; I've made them with horseradish, as in this recipe, white truffle oil, roasted garlic, the list of possibilities is virtually infinite. Just by changing a few things at the end you can elevate plain mashed potatoes into something extraordinary!)

Peel the potatoes to completely remove the skins.  Thoroughly rinse the potatoes with cold water to remove any dirt and accumulated starch.  Allow the potatoes to drain in a colander until they are fairly dry.

The peeled and washed potatoes

When cutting or cubing the potatoes, the most important thing to remember is that all of the pieces should be roughly equal in size.  The stated absolute size (1 inch x 1 inch) is more of an approximation.  Equally portioned potatoes will cook at the same time, resulting in an evenly mashed creation.  Un-equally portioned potatoes will cook at different times, resulting in lumpy potatoes.
 To cut or cube the potatoes, here are a few visual instructions:

First; cut the potatoes in half.

Step No. 1: cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise

Second; slice the potatoes into three or four equal parts lengthwise (the strips should be approximately 1/2 - 1 inch across

Step No. 2: slice the potatoes into equal strips, lengthwise

Third; slice the potato strips into equal parts widthwise.

Step No. 3: slice the potatoes strips into equal strips, widthwise

The finished "cubes" should resemble those seen in the bowl below.

The "cubed" potatoes
Place the cubed potatoes, into a very large pot (there should be at least 4 inches of free space above the potatoes once they have been placed into the pot).

Add cold water to the pot, use enough to entirely cover the potatoes by at least 2 inches.

Add the 1/4 cup kosher salt to the potato pot.  Place the entire pot onto the stove top, and turn the stove to "high."

Bring the water to boil and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes after the water has started to boil.  The potatoes are done when the edges have started to "smooth out" (they will kind of look like rocks that have been lightly tumbled in a rock tumbler) and a  fork easily passes entirely through the potato.

Immediately pour the potatoes into colander over the sink, and allow them to drain for 10 minutes.  (more water will mean a watery mash).

For my potatoes, I always use a potato ricer.  This device (pictured below) can be made of metal or plastic, and uses a plunger to push the cooked potatoes through a series of small holes on the bottom of the device.  The result is an uniform mash that does indeed resemble cooked rice (hence the name).  In addition to producing a uniform mash, the ricer also reduces the probability of over-mixing your potatoes.  Over mixed potatoes always have a gummy, unpleasant texture.  A hand mixer or a hand-held potato masher can be substituted.  Since these devices use a stirring motion to breakdown the potatoes, special care must be taken to ensure you don't over mix!

Riced potatoes = good
Over-mixed gummy potatoes = bad
Add the butter, and lightly stir until it has melted into the mash.  Add the sour cream and horseradish to the mash.  Add the milk to the mash in 1/2 cup incriments, lightly stirring after each addition.  Continue to add milk until the potatoes are light, fluffy, and creamy, or your preferred consistency.*
*For health conscious or lactose intolerant readers, the milk may be substituted for low-sodium, reduced fat chicken broth.
Add salt and pepper to the mash to your preferred taste.

Just another quick visual reminder before you leave...
Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy!

1 comment:

  1. what a gret food, looks awesome, thanks for take the time and put the ingredients! lOVE IT


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