This instructable covers how to make a British classic, from scratch!
Step 1: Introduction
Bangers and mash, traditional British savory pork sausages with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, make an excellent breakfast when paired with a couple fried eggs. It’s a hearty and filling dish and is great for serving to a crowd. You will need a sausage grinder for this recipe, but everything else is easily found in most grocery stores. Depending on how many people you are feeding, the sausages can be frozen and reheated. Traditionally bangers were made with Rusk, a dense bread, which caused the sausages to burst their casings when cooked which is how they got their name. I did not have rusk available and didn't have time to make any, so I substituted dried and toasted sourdough. The mashed potatoes are simple as is the gravy.
Step 2: Banger Ingredients
For the ingredients you will need pork. If you have your own meat grinder and the time, you can better control the size of the grind and the amount of fat in the pork. I used both ground pork shoulder and ground loin with fat added. You can always ask at the meat counter to have certain percentages ground, although pre ground pork is perfectly acceptable. I purchased my hot casing from whole foods and only used half of it- a single casing could easily hold 10lbs of stuffing.
-Hog casing, soaked for a couple days in the refrigerator
-5lbs of pork 8oz beer. Preferably a dark beer free of flavorings like coffee or chocolate (oatmeal stout, porters, etc. are best) but I had a pilsner on hand and it tasted excellent.
-8oz chicken stock or broth. I use liquid concentrated bone broths- they're flavorful and nowhere near as salty as bullion
-salt, about 3 tablespoons
-a heaping tablespoon of FESHLY GROUND black pepper
-Sage, I had just shy of 1/4 cup after mincing it up
-rusk (or dried bread, or breadcrumbs in a pinch)
-ground ginger, about a teaspoon and a half
Step 3: Preparing the Casing
Most of the time when you buy sausage casings, they come dehydrated, shriveled, and packed in salt. To rehydrate, it is best to soak them in water in the fridge for 3-5 days. The longer, the better. the longer they soak, the more they will resist tearing.
Step 4: Drying and Grinding Bread
A dense loaf called rusk is added to bangers. It soaks up (and holds, like a sponge) flavorful liquid and gives a lighter body to an otherwise dense sausage, which is what makes them great for breakfast. I did not have rusk, and I chose to add in dehydrated and lightly toasted sourdough. The sourdough adds a good flavor, and is easy to come by. Any bread will work though.
If you have a convection feature in your oven, set it low (to around 300 F) and turn the convection on. Place it directly on the rack as this will allow air to circulate and dry the bread throughout without burning it up. When it is dried out and hard, break it up into a a bunch of pieces and pulse it in a food processor until your largest piece is about the size of a small pea.
Step 5: Processing the Meat Mixture for Stuffing
While the bread is finishing up drying out, throw the pork, beer, and stock into a stand mixer with the paddle beater in place. This will take a while, as the pork needs to be mashed up into a more past like consistency. If you stuffed the pork as it was into a casing you would end up with more air pockets and a mealy texture. It took a solid 10 minutes of mixing before adding the spices and mixing for another 10 minutes or so. Start on the "stir" speed setting, as the pork and liquids will want to splash out of the bowl.
Step 6: Seasonings
While the pork is mixing and the bread is drying, it's a good time to prepare your seasonings (if they aren't already). Grind your pepper, grate the nutmeg, and chop the sage very finely. All of this will make for a fantastic smelling kitchen! Whenever possible, use fresh sage instead of dried. It doesn't take a lot of sage but the volatile oils in the plant diminish quickly during the drying process, so fresh is (usually) the way to go.
Step 7: Finishing the Meat Mixture
Once you have all the seasonings ground, chopped and grated, add them along with the bread crumble to the bowl of the mixer and incorporate for another 10 minutes. You really want the meat to reduce to a sturdy paste.
Step 8: Preparing the Casing for Stuffing
Attach the stuffing horn to your mixer if you don't have a free standing stuffer. Slide as much of the casing as you can over the horn, cut the excess off and save for another project. Before tying the end of the casing off, run some meat mixture through the auger until it just pokes out the end of the horn. You will notice the casing balloon a little- this was air inside the stuffer before the meat pushed through the end. squeeze the air out, and tie off the end as close to the horn tip as you can. Trapped air will make a loose link and cause it to float when simmered.
Step 9: How the Sausage Gets Stuffed
This part requires a bit of patience as it can be tedious, and requires a little practice. While holding the casing steady with one hand as it feeds off the horn with stuffing, use the other hand to tamp the meat mixture into the feeding tube. If you can, place the stuffer on a surface lower than a counter- it's a lot easier to get leverage for tamping the meat in and saves your limbs from sore muscles!
Step 10: Links
Once the entirety of the meat has been stuffed into the casing, pull the reaming casing off the horn, but dont cut it yet. Twist the long rope of a sausage into links about 5 inches long working toward the open end. When you reach the end, tie it off and then cut the excess casing.
Step 11: Parcooking the Sausage Links
take the links, still all connected and place them in a pot. Fill it with water and add some aromatics if you want. I used juniper berries, bay leaf, and more sage. Bring it to a very low simmer and let it go for about 45 minutes to an hour, so that the links are fully cooked through.
Step 12: Clean Up!
you will be using the same bowl in the next step that you mixed the pork in for whipping potatoes. While cleaning it up, clean the rest of your work area- pork was sure to have gotten places you didn't mean for it to.
Step 13: Mash, or the Potatoes.
This is pretty straight forward. Peel about 4lbs of russet or Idaho potatoes and boil them in salted water until fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and add them along with black pepper and salt to taste, a quarter stick of butter, and a half cup of cream. Turn the mixer and paddle blade to the lowest mix setting and whip them until fluffy, but not pasty and glue like. It only takes about 2 minutes.
Step 14: The Onion Gravy
The onion gravy is the best part and is dead simple to make, and packed with flavor. you will need:
-2 decent sized white onions
-beef stock concentrate, marmite, or bullion granules
-a teaspoon of sugar
-between 1/8th and 1/4 cup of sherry vinegar
-salt (if not using bullion or marmite)
-FRESHLY GROUND pepper
-2tbs corn starch
- a cup of beer
Thinly slice the onions and add them to a pan over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of butter, and sautee them until sweated and dark on the edges. add the Beef bullion/concentrate/marmit straight to the pan, the sugar, sherry vinegar, salt, and beer. While it's coming to a boil, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water to make a slurry, and add that to the boiling gravy mix. add enough water to make the desired amount of gravy and simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened.
Step 15: Browning the Sausage
This is what really makes the bangers excellent. Cook them over moderate heat with a little oil in a frying pan until browned on most sides and send them to the table.
Step 16: Serving
This dish makes a great presentation for hungry guests at breakfast- a heaping plate of sizzling sausage, a mound of buttery fluffy potatoes, a bowl of savory gravy and freshly fried eggs.
I like my eggs sunny side up, and to cook them I start with room temperature eggs and a cold pan. I put the pan on the lowest heat setting I can get away with, and melt a pat of butter. As soon as the butter melts, a crack in a couple eggs and slowly let them come up to perfect temperature. For "over easy eggs" I like to add a half ounce of water to the hot pan and cover them with a lid for about a minute- they cook perfectly that way, I don't have to flip them, and they slide right off onto the plate. I hope you guys enjoy making this dish as muchas your friends will enjoy eating it!