Bangers and Mash

Nothing beats the warm comfort of a bowl of Bangers and Mash, especially if the potatoes are mashed with lashings of brown butter and apple cider onion gravy is ladled liberally on top then all served with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This Saturday is bonfire night, although since I have the market stall this weekend and will be baking all Saturday, we are delaying our celebrations until next week and joining my in-laws for the firework display in Ely over the cathedral. It will be Cole’s first bonfire night and I think he is going to love it. Or be scared senseless by the cracking bangs and terrifying shower of fire, forever scarred by the experience which will lead to nightmares and nervous tics, meaning we’ll all be in therapy when he reaches his teens. I’m gunning for the former.

Bonfire Night

It is absolutely obligatory to have sausages on bonfire night, I guess traditionally the sausages were roasted on the fire. I remember being bundled up in winter woollies clutching at my sausage in a bun, enamoured by the glittering hiss of the guy sizzling on the bonfire. Seeing a bonfire at firework displays, especially in London, is a rarity due to health and safety, hopefully Ely won’t let us down. Sausages though are definitely a must, oh and a cup of hot apple cider. We need to keep warm in the frosty November air.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This recipe is the best of those two traditions. The sausages are simply roasted but the mash is made infinitely more superior by using brown butter which was a tip I garnered from Half Baked Harvest and I’m now going to implement every time I mash a potato. The taste is amazing.

The apple cider gravy is the only part of the meal where you might have to pay a bit of attention if you are not well versed in gravies. Gravy might have been the very first thing I learnt to cook as it was so vital to our Sunday roasts growing up. The consistency of your gravy probably depends on what part of the country you grew up in, the further north you get the thicker it is. I’ve had gravies you can pretty much stand a spoon up in and my Nan was from Liverpool so hers took some beating. I always err on her side for my Bangers and Mash, this is not a time for sophistication. The only advice I would adhere to here is to use proper dripping and meat stock. Although you could substitute with butter and vegetable stock (never a stock cube – please!!) the difference is immeasurable. Sorry veggies and vegans.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I always have dripping in the fridge, again my Nan was from Liverpool, and we would think nothing of dripping on toast as a teatime snack. I cook a Sunday roast every weekend and after the meal has been done, before the washing up has been started I scoop out all the meat dripping from the roasting tin and store it in a jar in the fridge. Then we (this is usually Luke’s job) place the meat bones, along with some veg and lots of water, in our stock pot so the stock simmers away nicely on the Sunday evening. That way, we always have the makings of gravy on hand for any Bangers and Mash emergencies.

The final piece of the puzzle is the caramelised apples, they take moments so are worth the extra five minutes. They are cooked quickly with butter and sugar to retain a bit of bite then sweetened with a pinch of cinnamon.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I can’t wait to share fireworks night with Cole, I have a bank of lovely memories of this time of year and hope he’ll have just as many. Although regardless of the fireworks, I know he’ll go crazy for the Bangers and Mash.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Print Recipe
Bangers and Mash with Apple Cider Onion Gravy and Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Instructions
Sausages
  1. Place the sausages in an oiled roasting tin and then into an oven pre-heated to 170° C. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the sausages are golden and juicy.
Gravy:
  1. Melt the dripping, then add the onion slices and heat on medium until the edges are beginning to catch in the pan.
  2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and stir well, continue cooking on medium until the onions are turning golden brown.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted then add the flour, mixing well until the flour has absorbed all the fat. Continue cooking for 10 minutes to let the roux take on more colour.
  4. Pour in the stock very slowly, stirring all the time to remove lumps until it is beginning to resemble gravy. Once you’ve added all the stock then pour in the cider in the same way.
  5. Add the bay leaf, thyme and stir in the dijon, bringing the gravy up to a gentle boil. If the gravy is too thick for you, add some more stock or just water to get to your desired consistency.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat.
Mash:
  1. Place the potatoes into salted boiling water and boil for 20 minutes until soft.
  2. Remove the potatoes then pass them through a potato ricer.
  3. In a small saucepan melt the butter until browned, making sure to remove from heat before the nutty brown bits start to burn.
  4. Stir the brown butter into the mash and season well.
Apples:
  1. Melt the butter then add the icing sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and then add the apple slices.
  2. Fry for about 5 minutes until the apples are beginning to colour then remove from heat.

Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages: Day 2 of Whole30

Chicken and Fennel Sausages
One of the common concerns that surrounds embarking on the Whole30 is the issue of breakfast. After all grains are banned so that means no toast, no cereal, no porridge. Dairy is banned so no yoghurt. And it goes without saying that pastries are a resounding no no. So what else is there?

Chicken and Fennel Sausages  |  Stroud Green Larder

The Whole30 way of eating would like to discourage you from thinking that there should be any difference between the kinds of food we would have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. After all that is how food is eaten in lots of other cultures, why should we reserve a set of foods only for breakfast, isn’t this quite restrictive? When I was in Ghana I was surprised that my work colleagues at the newsroom would eat the same sort of food – cassava and perhaps some meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I found it very strange at the time but now it seems odd that we would limit ourselves so much at breakfast time. After all, as a student, cold pizza for breakfast was the ultimate luxury. Let’s embrace that attitude! Although pizza might be frowned upon.

Having said that there are some breakfast foods which are definitely supported on the Whole30. Eggs, for example. However, for someone who is not a fussy eater at all, I can be very picky over my breakfast. I never liked cereal anyway or milk, toast always seemed a waste of time as it never filled me up but the worst crime of all is my aversion to eggs. This is a bit of a problem in the Whole30 as it’s one of the most celebrated ingredients on your meal plan. It’s the king of breakfast and if you don’t eat them you have to start getting pretty creative.

Chicken and Fennel Sausages  |  Stroud Green Larder

I like my breakfast to consist mainly of protein, this is what I do well on first thing. It gives me energy and satisfies me until lunch. So, sausages and bacon are my go to foods. However, whereas bacon is okay on the Whole30, sausages are a bit more complicated. Supermarket sausages usually contain all sorts of preservatives which are not that good for you and although butchers’ sausages may not contain those sorts of products, they are more than likely made with breadcrumbs or some sort of wheat product holding them all together. So I started making my own sausages for breakfast, this way I know exactly what is in them and I can tailor them for my specific picky palette, after all I don’t want a sausage that too rich or garlicky first thing in the morning.

I have found that this flavour combination of thyme and fennel really makes the most delicious sausage, it is light, meaty, juicy and full of flavour. The sausages are roasted without any added fat or binding agent as the chicken skin is included in the mince. This keeps its moisture in and means that during the roast the sweet sticky chicken juices encase the outside of the sausage which is a treat you just don’t find in Walls’ bangers.

Chicken and Fennel Sausages  |  Stroud Green Larder

They are simple to make to boot. All you need to do is de-bone your chicken thighs, then place them in the food processor along with the rest of your ingredients and whizz them up. Don’t worry that at this stage the chicken looks like something Jamie Oliver would produce to put children off food for life, there is only good chicken in your sausage.   Then once it’s been completely minced up, shape them into sausage shapes and roast them on baking parchment for 40 minutes in the oven. I eat these sausages wrapped in lettuce or served up with some stewed tomatoes. They are brilliantly filling and feel like such a treat. It’s recipes like this that have kicked off my Whole30 with a bang and made breakfast time a whole lot easier.

Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages
Makes 6 sausages

6 chicken thighs with skin on, boneless
1½ tsp bacon salt or regular sea salt
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp mustard powder

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Chop the chicken up roughly and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Whizz up to a smooth paste.
  3. Shape the chicken mince into sausages, about 100g each depending on how large your chicken thighs were. You should be able to get 6 sausages out of the mince.
  4. Place the sausages on baking parchment on a baking tray.
  5. Roast the sausage for 40 minutes in the oven when they will have turned golden.