- 1 Package RJ Balson & Son Pork Bangers
- Fresh sage (few leaves)
- Flat leaf parsley (small handful)
- 1 cup beer (Old Speckled Hen)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 russet potatoes
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Plain flour (pinch)
We are starting our food adventure with a bang! Bangers and Mash is a classic English comfort food, and what we thought would also be a good starting food for Elliott.
I researched various pork sausages, but really wanted to get as authentic as possible. In 1000 Foods To Eat Before You Die Mimi suggests R.J. Balson & Son who claim to be Europe’s Oldest Family Butchers since 1515. The meat doesn’t come from England, I think they have a farm in Wisconsin, as that is where the cooler was shipped from. Costco carries Balson’s bangers in the southwest, but not here in Oregon. The biggest problem is that you need to order at least 6lbs of meat, and I certainly didn’t want that many.
Balsons does have a few other items on their site, including a Garlic & Herb version of the banger, pork back bacon and breakfast bangers. I noticed that another food in the book is Toad-in-the-Hole, which can use the breakfast bangers for. Still 6lbs is too much for our family.
I put out a call on Facebook and found three other friends who were interested in getting some British bangers of their own. Perfect.
When our recipe called for beer I wondered down to Eugene’s best bottle shop, The Bier Stein, as they have a huge selection from all over the world. We found the British Isles section and grabbed a can of Old Speckled Hen.
Mimi suggests How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. As I researched various websites I found a lot of fancy versions. Come on, this is comfort food! I finally found this great YouTube video. I knew by Steven Dolby’s British accent that this was our recipe.
This dish was simple to make, and Elliott was able to help stir the onions and give a shot at mashing the potatoes. The only problem we ran into was we didn’t start heating the potato water soon enough, so that the bangers and onion gravy was done cooking before the potatoes were done boiling. That resulted in the bangers being a little cold when finally serving them.
We decided to pair our meal with peas. There is a debate over what the best side dishes for bangers and mash are, with some saying you don’t need any side dish at all.
I thought it was good comfort food material, however none of the flavors really stood out. I think that using the Old Speckled Hen beer was fun, and it gave our home a British pub smell while cooking, I think it also left the onion gravy with a slightly bitter taste, as British beers tend to be a little bitter. It was definitely a good idea to source the authentic British bangers, as they have a unique taste to them that you won’t get with American sausages.
This recipe was a success and I was impressed with the results. Jason is right, the aroma had my stomach growling. I was surprised that the recipe doesn’t mention seasoning the gravy (only salt is mentioned with cooking and mashing the potatoes). I thought it was lacking a bit of flavor there and preferred to add salt and pepper to taste. The banger was tasty, a kind of softer texture than American sausages and didn’t have a snap when bit into or cut. I don’t know enough to say if that’s what makes it authentic, but it was distinctly different. Overall this meal was excellent to serve on a blustery February day and a fun one to try out with the family. I encourage you to give Bangers and Mash a whirl.
Good For Kids?
Elliott really liked the bangers and ate the entire thing. He was off put by the mashed potatoes, but he has never really been a fan. Most kids who like mashed potatoes will like these as well, although they might be turned off by the onions.
Miles on the other hand loved every bite. He is still too young for the meat, but he gobbled down the mashed potatoes, onion gravy and peas. He loved discovering this new flavor and kept reaching out across the table for more.
Questions For You
- There are many ways to make this dish. What is the best Bangers & Mash recipe?
- Where is the best restaurant to order Bangers & Mash?
- What do you think is the ultimate side dish for Bangers & Mash?
Leave your comments in the area below!