I spent a good part of my young adult life working in the restaurant industry. Too long some would say. I’d tend to agree. And during that time I operated an English pub, authentic in the decor, atmosphere and menu. There was the long, winding wood bar with 18 different draughts on tap, including some British classics.The booths, high tops, billiards and dart board had you feeling like you were in a different country. That was the plan. But it was the food that had everyone coming back for more.
It was the local neighbourhood pub. On any given night you’d find families enjoying a night out at a table, friends gathered in tight around the bar, teams out back enjoying pints and snacks and playing darts. It was the place where everyone knew everyone. And they all stopped in for a visit. Like I did before I started working there. And after I left.
Long after my final days at that establishment and in that industry I still found myself popping back in or at least visiting similar spots around town. Especially as the wind grew stronger and the temperature dug down deep and cold. I’d grab a spot by the fireplace, order up something comforting like fish and chips, Guinness steak & mushroom pie, pot roast & Yorkshire pudding, the full English breakfast if it was morning and, of course, bangers & mash.
And for the most part, I ordered bangers and mash. It was my favourite pub food. Every time I ate it felt like the home I never lived in. Visiting relatives or taking an excursion to a pub down the street for the finest fare around. Regardless, bangers and mash comforted me. And I turned to that dish more times than I could count. And continued doing so when I started making it at home.
So when those early spring temperatures temporarily disappeared recently and brought back the shiver we were all too familiar with come the end of winter, I decided to make this. To remind me of where I came from and what I’ve been through but also to warm me from the inside out. And it did.
From my kitchen to yours,
Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy
- 4 pork sausages
- olive oil
- handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 5 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 tbsp. butter
- sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 200 ml beef stock
- Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
- Using a large saute pan over medium-high heat, fry the sausages on all sides until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Place the pan and sausages into the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until crisp all over.
- While the sausages are cooking, boil the potatoes in a large pot with generously salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes with the milk and butter until smooth. Put a lid on the pot and keep warm on the back burner until it’s needed.
- Fry the onions in a large pan with the lid on with a little oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until softened. Take off the lid and turn up the heat and cook until golden brown. Add in the flour and the stock and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until you have the consistency of gravy.
- To plate, spoon some smooth potatoes onto the bottom of a plate. Top with two sausages, chopped or whole, and spoon over the onion gravy over top. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over top.
- Serves 2.