Day 91: Month 4 begins with a bang

April 1, 2007

This evening’s meal, Fancy-Pants Bangers ‘n’ Mash, was pretty much always going to be a winner in this house. With cold, damp, drizzly wet weather outside, and sniffly noses and sore throats inside, today was like a tiny slice of life in the UK, right here in the Midwest. And the perfect end to any miserable-weather day has to be bangers and mash, obviously.

This meal took around 40 minutes to cook, which is about what we expected. Rachael Ray says to brown the sausages on all sides which should take 3-4 minutes. I don’t know what kind of turbo-charged sausage-browning device she uses, but it took the best part of half an hour for ours to brown. When they finally browned on some sides (these were particularly curvy sausages), we took them out the pan and fried the red onion, garlic and thyme in half of the remaining fat. After that lot browned, we added chicken stock and red wine, and returned the sausages to the skillet. 5 minutes later, some chopped parsley and a splash of lemon juice completed the meat course.

Meanwhile, we made mash with red potatoes, cream cheese, butter, milk, chives and seasoning. The sausages were supposed to be served on top of a mound of mash in a shallow bowl, topped with the gravy sauce. As we only own cereal bowls, and our sausages were super-long, that proved to be a logistical nightmare; back to the dinner plate.

This is a good, solid, hearty winter meal which is almost impossible to stop eating. Only the thought of tomorrow’s weigh-in at the doctor kept me from eating half of L’s portion, on top of my own. (Well that and the fact that I’d already eaten stir fry with Baby A for my first dinner. In pregnancy news, fingers crossed, touch wood, I haven’t been particularly sick for quite a few days, all being well. I am now just extraordinarily hungry, all the time. As I now pretty much eat two meals for each of breakfast, lunch and dinner, I could probably eat 3 Rachael Ray meals a day and still have room for what I want to eat.) The potatoes were creamy and good, the onion/ red wine gravy was really tasty and quite salty, which complemented the mash really well. My only slight complaint would be the sausages- the ones we had were just too American for this dish; too Brat-like. We have had this problem ever since we moved over here; it’s hard to find a really British-type sausage. In a recent conversation about the international sausage dilemma with a fellow Brit marooned over here, he mentioned the filler in UK sausage. Quick research suggests that a nice quality sausage at home is up to 30% rusk; here it’s almost all meat. So, the sausages were a bit meaty, but that shouldn’t really be a complaint. Other than that, my two suggestions would be

  1. More liquid: there can never be too much gravy with mashed tatties
  2. Peas: frozen peas (defrosted, but only just) are the perfect compliment to bangers and mash, like coffee and chocolate cake, or salt and vinegar on chips

Tomorrow, we will be making London Broil with Parsley-Horseradish Chimichurri. The week ahead features steak, twice, pork chops, twice, chicken, twice, and a serving of shrimp. That’s about a month’s worth of meat for us in 2006, and probably a year’s worth in 2008.

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