Don't know what bangers and mash are? Then the odds are you are not English or getting on in years.
Bangers and Mash, is a traditional, good value, warming meal, that is quick to prepare and delicious to eat. In plain English, it is a traditional British meal consisting of sausages and mashed potatoes. This meal dates back to the early 1900s. Of course at that time the ingredients of the sausages would have varied from today. In the past the sausage skins were generally made from an animal's cleaned intestines. Today more sausages have artificially made skins which contain sometimes suspect meat.
As Bangers are sausages, and Mash is simply mashed potatoes, it should be easy to get this recipe right, shouldn't it? If only life were that simple.
As with all recipes, the food is not always as tasty as it should be. Much will depend on the quality of the sausages, the means of cooking, the variety of potato, the gravy and so much more.
The perfect potato, or spud as the British call them, for mash.
One of the best varieties of potato, for making great Mash, is the Nadine. It has the right amount of moisture and taste, to make perfect mashed potatoes.
However, when we British make a cheap mid-week meal of Bangers and Mash, almost any potato or sausage will do. However, if you want your Bangers and Mash to rise above the crowd, buy the right potato for the job.
Make sure that you cut the potatoes into regular sized pieces. This guarantees an even cook. Rinse the peeled and chopped potatoes, under cold water, and then place in a pan of cold water. You will need enough water to cover the potatoes.
Years ago, this water was always salted, but these days it is down to personal taste and choice.
When the pan of potatoes has boiled, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. The timing depends on the variety of potato, the size of the chunks of potato and the quantity. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and turn into a bowl for mashing. Mash using your preferred methods.
Sausages, or Bangers, are less popular in the UK these days. They are generally classed as having poor nutritional value. For example, cheap sausages may have a slightly suspect source of meat and too much cereal. Sometimes cheap bangers have tough chewy pieces of gristle in them. The contents may also include mechanically retrieved meat, which is not good for you.
The taste and nutritional value of your meal will be improved if you buy good quality sausages. Bangers are usually pork, beef or a mixture of pork and beef. Nowadays, you can buy vegetarian or turkey sausages, but neither of these will make traditional Bangers and Mash.
Sausages can be fried reasonably quickly, but they taste better if cooked in the oven or in a grill pan on the stove. This way you will not need to add any fat, as they will cook in their own juices. If you put the bangers in the oven, as the potatoes begin to simmer, all the food should be ready to eat at the same time.
Bangers cooked in the oven with onions, and then an added gravy, make lovely Bangers and Mash.
Bangers and Mash cooking tips
The mashed potato should not be sloppy and wet, nor should it be too dry. Perfect mashed potato has a little added milk, butter, salt and pepper. The amounts depend on your taste.
The bangers are traditionally stuck into a heap of mashed potato. Pile the mash on the person's plate. Stick the bangers in the mash vertically. Cover with lashings of onion gravy.
This dish has universal appeal. Children and adults alike, tend to love bangers and mash. It is quick and easy to shop for, prepare and cook. The bonus, of course, is that it is also a tasty dish.
You can add your own little touches, if you want to, but god old-fashioned bangers and mash was a simple dish. It helped to cheaply provide sustenance for poorer families and has remained a winter favourite, for all ages.