Why I’m not a big, fat guy… I don’t know. Other than moving away from kernel corn because I think it does funny things to my system, I am very lucky not to suffer from some of the food restrictions of friends and family I know. I think I’ve been in an “eat to survive” mode for a long time. Feel hungry? Eat something. Done.
With St. Patrick’s day coming up next week, I’ve been thinking about how I will make some corned beef and cabbage with a few spuds. Traditional or not, it is what most of us in the US consider to be the food of the day on March 17th.
In recent weeks I have been researching a bunch of Irish folk songs. This all came out of me discovering violinist/fiddle player, John Sheahan of The Dubliners. I may have listened to these guys before as my Mother would pull out her Irish music LP’s around St. Patrick’s day. For you youngsters, an LP is a Long Playing record… something you would put on a turn table. A needle would ride along the groove in the large plastic disk or record and the sound would magically emerge from awesome hi-fi or stereophonic speakers allowing you to hear what was on the LP. Okay, got it?
I know that Mom had the Clancy Brothers and The Irish Rovers (they were Canadian) but I don’t know if The Dubliners were part of the mix. Maybe. The Dubliners recently came to an end after 50 years with John Sheahan being the only survivor of the original core group. Some of the members of the Dubliners have continued on as “The Dublin Legends.”
I decided that I should add a couple of Irish tunes to the fiddle mix. The Irish Washerwoman is still kicking my ass but eventually, I think my fingers might go with the flow and make it sound at least somewhat recognizable. A couple of others seem to be coming along and going though the lyrics in my tune research reveals much time spent at the pub. I also now know what a “bowsie” is.
My research did not stop there. I also decided to find out what other traditional Irish foods were out there… and whether or not I could reproduce them any better than reproducing some Irish jig.
Last night I prepared Bangers and Mash.
I have to say that for a first attempt, I thought that this was pretty damned good. I now have a great St. Patrick’s Day option or just a great any other time of the year meal to make. I kind of followed this recipe:
Bangers and Mash
6-8 pork sausage links
2 Tb. butter, separated
1 large onions, sliced thin
1 bottled beer
1 Tb. flour
2 Tb. Worcestershire
½- 1cup chicken or beef stock
Salt and Pepper
2 lbs. red skinned potatoes
2 Tb. butter
3-4 Tb. milk
1 Tb. whole-grain mustard
¾ cup shredded Dubliner cheese
Chop the potatoes into large chunks and place in a pot. Fill the pot with water until it covers the potatoes. Add a large pinch of salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid, lower the heat, and simmer another 10 minutes—until fork tender.
Drain the potatoes and add the butter and milk. Smash the potatoes will a potato masher (or a large spoon or ladle). Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, stir in the cheese and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the potatoes are boiling, add 1 Tb. of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the sausages into the skillet, allowing them to make contact with the skillet first, then add the sliced onions. Brown the “bangers” and onions for about 10 minutes.
Add the beer and allow it to reduce for another 10-12 minutes—stirring occasionally.
Mix 1 Tb. of soft butter with 1 Tb. of flour together. Remove the bangers and mix the butter mixture into the beer reduction. It should thicken instantly. Now add the Worcestershire and stock to thin out the gravy to your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the bangers over the mash, topped with gravy.