How to make the perfect bangers and mash

Written by mel henderson
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How to make the perfect bangers and mash
The perfect trio. Sausages, mashed potatoes and gravy. (Getty Premium images)

"Give us a bash and the bangers and mash, mi muther used to make."

— Peter Sellers ("Bangers and Mash" song - 1961).

Ever popular across different cultural platforms, from Peter Sellers' and Sophia Loren's 1960's "Bangers and Mash" song to the children's classic nursery rhyme about sausages sizzling in a pan, this popular British winter warmer dish has been a household and pub favourite across the UK for generations. Originally an easy, cheap tummy filler for the working class, bangers and mash is an everyday pub-grub classic that can be made with ease, from your very own kitchen.

The bangers

It is widely stated that the word “banger” is used to describe the high-pitched popping sound made when sausages are being fried. According to several different sources, the of the phrase can be traced back to the early part of the Second World War when sausages were rationed and made with water, making them explode if cooked on high heat. Sadly, today’s average sausage will bang only as loud as a crackle or sizzle sound.

1) Take the sausages out of the packet and rinse them under cold water.

2) Pinch each sausage a couple of times with a fork (to allow some fat to drip out during cooking).

3) Place them under the grill on a medium heat.

4) Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning sausages over a couple of times so that they’re fully cooked.

5) Check to see if they’re cooked in the middle by cutting into one sausage. Make sure they are a neatly crispy and golden brown before serving.

The mash

Good mash potato is all down to the blending. Getting the right proportions of boiled potato, butter, salt and pepper can make for a delightfully creamy concoction.

1) Heat water to the boil and add a pinch of salt to the water.

2) Add potatoes and simmer until soft, but not super brittle. This should take about 10-15 minutes depending on the strength of your hob.

3) Pinch the potatoes with a fork and turn off heat when they’re tender.

4) Drain water and put potatoes in a bowl.

5) Mash potatoes and mix in a large knob of butter.

6) Mix in a little milk to smooth out the texture and add salt and pepper. Add more milk or butter or not -- this will have to be decided by a taste test.

The gravy

Often referred to as "the juice," gravy adds a great touch to any straight up meat-and-potato meal, but with bangers and mash in particular the dish would not be complete without a silky red onion gravy drizzled over the top. The sauce is not actually as difficult to make as you might think and believe it or not -- gravy granules are not needed.

1) Heat about 15 - 30 ml (1-2 tbsp) olive oil in a frying pan for a couple of minutes.

2) Put chopped onions into pan and fry until soft, adding a touch of water if necessary.

3) Once the onions are browned, add the balsamic vinegar and maintain on high heat until the vinegar evaporates.

4) Crumble in stock cubes and add 480 ml (1 pint / 2 cups) of water and stir until its all mixed well.

5) Simmer and stir contiguously until texture evens out.

Tips and warnings

  • Multi-task. It'll save you time. While the water's boiling for the potatoes, chop up the onions and prepare the potatoes, so that when the water's ready, everything else is ready to be cooked.

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