Irish Cross Memorial New Orleans

Irish Cross Memorial New Orleans
The Celtic Cross Memorial in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Adrian McGrath. Click the image for the story about the cross.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sausages and Mash: Irish Pub Food

Sausages and Mash with peas and mushroom gravy
The large sausage is Andouille, and the small ones are
breakfast ones. Just use whatever sausage is at hand.
Photo by A. McGrath

By Adrian McGrath

This is a popular dish in Ireland and in many Irish pubs across the United States -- Sausages and Mash, sometimes referred to in Britain, and occasionally in Ireland and America, as Bangers and Mash. It is popular for several reasons. It is inexpensive, easy to make, tastes great (especially when watching a football game on television and drinking a beer), and is pretty nutritious containing meat, starch, and vegetables. Spices are simple -- just salt, pepper, and maybe parsley.

Sausages and Mash is basically some form of grilled sausage with mashed potatoes with brown gravy and a side vegetable, usually green peas or a salad. The brown gravy is often mixed with sauted or caramelized onions, or the caramelized onions can go on the side.

To complete the meal, add some warm Irish Soda Bread and butter and maybe a nice beer.

Sausages and Mash with a side salad
Photo A. McGrath
The odd name, Bangers and Mash, came about this way: During World War One, sausage, one of the most popular main courses for the working class in Britain and Ireland, was in limited supply because of a shortage of meat. Beef and pork were just very hard to get. To compensate, sausages had various fillers mixed in including a significant amount of water.

When the sausages were heated up, they would often pop with a loud, banging sound. They were, therefore, nicknamed “Bangers.”  Today, of course, we can get excellent quality sausages at the local grocery store, with a wide variety to choose from.

The “Mash” part of the name is simply mashed potatoes. So, that’s the interesting origin of the name.

Bangers and Mash with
Parsley and Roasted Garlic
Photo by A. McGrath

I made a dish of it and put up a couple of photos. As per usual, I never give precise recipes since I think people can make up their own versions that suit them best if I just give some basic ideas.

Bangers and Mash basic
Ingredients -- sausage, potatoes,
green peas.
Photo by Adrian McGrath

Basically, you will need the sausage of your choice. This could be beef, pork, or your choice of meat. Then you need mashed potatoes. Mushroom gravy is good too.

You can make your own from fresh potatoes by simply cutting the potatoes in cubes, boiling with water, draining, adding milk, butter, and spices, and heating up. Or you can use instant mashed potatoes.

The side vegetable is usually green peas -- frozen or canned is fine. Or use the vegetable of your choice, or a salad. Then you need a brown gravy. There are all kinds at the grocery store from canned to dry mixes. Just pick what you like. I like to add caramelized onions, sauted mushrooms, or roasted or sauted garlic. But a nice salad is good too.

Add some bread and butter and something to drink, and you have a very good and simple meal.
Sausages (Bangers) and Mash with
peas Photo by A. McGrath

The Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, discussed Bangers and Mash, see here. And that site is a wonderful reference point for various Irish foods and dishes too.

With all the sports activity on TV, from football and baseball to soccer and rugby, why not give Sausages and Mash a try.

Sources and further reading:

Irish Food Board Bord Bia -- "Sausage with Caramelized Onions" ; Wikipedia article on Bangers and Mash.


1 comment:

  1. Bangers and mash is definitely not a traditional Irish dish, it would be an English dish!!