Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Bonfire Night Bangers and Mash with Houses of Parliament Sauce
Halloween may be well and truly over for another year but that means that, here in the UK, Guy Fawkes' Night - also known as Bonfire Night - is only a matter of days away. The 5th of November every year is when people all over Great Britain commemorate the events of the Gunpowder Plot, back in 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, killing HM King James I/VI and as many of his ministers and officials as possible.
Like Halloween, Bonfire Night is not generally associated with special meals; but once again, I could not resist the temptation. What better, therefore, than an interpretation of the British classic, Bangers and Mash, accompanied with the appropriately named, Houses of Parliament Sauce? (Yes - that is the full title of HP Sauce!)
If you are in Great Britain and are planning having a bonfire and letting off some fireworks this Friday night, why not consider this simple dish to set the family up against what is usually the cold and wet? Even if you are not in Great Britain and do not have the slightest interest in Guy Fawkes' Night, this is still a delicious meal to try out and incredibly simple in the preparation and cooking. The quantities in this recipe provide for one adult portion.
4 beef link sausages (bangers)
2 medium potatoes
1 medium white onion
5 or 6 button mushrooms
2 rashers of bacon (optional)
Pinch of dried sage
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of freshly chopped dill
Sunflower oil for frying
The potatoes should be put on to cook in the first instance. They should be peeled, chopped roughly and added to a pot of cold, lightly salted water. They should be put on to a high heat until the water begins to boil, then the heat should be reduced to achieve a simmer, for twenty-five to thirty minutes.
As soon as the potatoes are boiling, a little sunflower oil should be added to a non-stick frying pan. The sausages should be gently fried for two or three minutes just to brown them evenly before the finely sliced onions and halved mushrooms are added. This may seem early to add the mushrooms and onions but I want them to cook down and caramelise in to a luscious sauce. Sprinkle on the sage and gently stir through. Make sure that the bangers are in contact with the base of the frying pan at all times, to ensure that they are properly cooked through.
When the sausages are cooked (after about twenty minutes) they should be placed to the side of the pan, on top of the mushrooms and onions, to keep warm, while - if desired - the optional bacon is added. The bacon will only take a couple of minutes on each side to cook.
The potatoes should be drained and mashed. The chopped dill and the grated garlic clove should then be stirred in to the mash before it is heaped in to the centre of the serving plate. There is no need to evenly distribute the mash - bangers and mash is not meant to be symmetrical! - but room should be left on the plate to spoon the onion and mushroom around the edges. The bangers may then be stuck in to the mash like wood on a bonfire and the bacon draped around them, if it is to be included.
The HP Sauce is of course optional but it not only adds an extra flavour to the dish, it is more than appropriate to the occasion...
If you are hosting or attending any form of event this Guy Fawkes' Night, particularly where it is not an organised display, please remember to follow all safety precautions to the letter. Do everything within your power to ensure that neither you, nor any of your friends or family, are part of the horrific statistics we seem to read about in the newspaper, or see on TV, every 6th of November. Be safe - and have fun!
The Fireworks' Code