Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pantry Raid*: Bangers and Mash

by Erin

Last weekend, I spent a lot of time at school studying and doing work for my clients (yup, I have clients through clinic - weird!), so by the time Sunday evening came along, I was ready for some home cooking. (I also find cooking to be an incredible stress reliever, which I was also in need of!) I of course haven't been grocery shopping in an embarassingly long time, but I had been to the farmer's market with Xani recently, so I perused the cabinets and fridge and tried to come up with something. It was definitely another culinary adventure of a hungry law student.

I saw potatoes, garlic, onions, and Italian sausages, all purchased at the farmer's market, and therefore all local and/or organic. Yay!

What did I come up with? Bangers and Mash. Bangers and Mash is a classic English/Irish comfort food (and pub grub) comprised of mashed potatoes and sausages. When I was in Australia someone told me that the sausages are called "bangers" because back during WWII, there wasn't that much food around so they put more water than usual in the sausages, so when they cooked them, they went BANG.

Anyway, I just made the recipe up as I went, but it turned out to be mighty good. I started by boiling up some potatoes. I also tossed about 5-6 cloves of garlic (still in their skins) into the boiling water to cook, so I could have garlic mashed potatoes. (This is so much easier than roasting the garlic in the oven for 45 minutes!)

As the potatoes and garlic were cooking, I thinly sliced some onions and got them cooking in olive oil. Then I had the sausages. We have bought these sausages from the market in the past, and they are fantastic (perhaps because they come from happy pigs?). Although different from traditional English sausages, I had to work with what I had, and I knew they'd be good.

I am always concerned about cooking them long enough, so instead of tossing them into the frying pan, I added them to the boiling water with the potatoes to cook them almost completely. Then I tossed them into the frying pan with the caramelized onions to get browned up.

Everybody in the hot tub

Meanwhile, I drained the potatoes and garlic. I peeled the garlic and added the cloves to the potatoes, along with some butter (okay, a lot of butter) and parmesan cheese. And voila! - garlic parmesan mashed potatoes!

Then it was time to plate. I finished browing up the sausages, put them on the plate with a pile of mash, then topped them both with the super-caramelized onions. Then I added a small pile of mesclun mix (also from the market) to add some freshness and green to the plate.

The verdict? Delicious and so comforting. And I was really proud of myself that I just made it up on a whim. Both the cooking and the eating were relaxing and took my mind off of my crazy life for an hour or so. Well worth it!

Coming up next: Xani's culinary adventures in the Windy City and Motor City!



* Pantry Raid - this was the name of our brilliant idea for a TV show, but then someone ELSE thought of it and put it on the Style Network! And it sucked. And now it's cancelled. So there. Ours would have been so much better! I figured if nothing else, I could turn it into a theme on our beloved blog.


  1. That IS a brilliant name for a TV show!

  2. For some reason, I've never tried boiling the sausage before browning. But this the second time in a couple of weeks that I've seen reference to it so I will give it a try.


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