I fell in love with a lot of things about London when le boyfriend and I studied abroad there…
British accents. Whitewashed buildings. Endless stretches of green space in the middle of the city. Abundant Indian food. Complete silence while riding the subway. War Horse. 15 pence bagels. The fact that I could get a baked potato with butter and cheese from a corner deli at practically any hour of the day.
But perhaps my grandest culinary love affair whilst in London was bangers and mash. And ohhhhh boy, it was an intense affair.
Since everyone in England is terrified of Mad Cow and other meat-bourne diseases, vegetarian B&M wasn’t hard to find at all. There was an awesome little local haunt in Soho called Mother Mash that had not one, but TWO vegetarian sausages and more varieties of mash than I could count. Ohhh my word, it was glorious.
What’s not to love about bangers and mash?
Tasty protein + mashed potatoes (swoooon) + a whole heaping bowl of gravy (If I haven’t professed it strongly enough already, I would marry gravy if I could) = pure heaven for Lauren.
Since returning from London, le boyfriend and I have made vegetarian bangers and mash a nearly weekly dinner staple. At first we were daunted by the seeming complexity of a dish involving three different recipes cooking simultaneously. Luckily, bangers and mash aren’t as daunting as they look and we’re at the point where we have the whole shebang down to a perfect science.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be customized exactly to your liking… any sort of sausage, any filling for the mashed potatoes, any gravy you like! Just follow these easy steps for a great bangers and mash starter pallet.
Bangers and Mash
- 4 sausages (vegetarian or otherwise)
- 3 large russet potatoes
- Milk or cream
- Desired fillings for mashed potatoes (see below)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Ingredients for lentil gravy
- Fill a medium to large stock pot 2/3 of the way full with water and bring to a boil.
- While the water is boiling, peel the potatoes and chop into equally sized rounds, about two inches in diameter. When the water comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and throw in the potatoes. Cover and let boil, checking occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the gravy by following these directions. Allow to simmer until the rest of the ensemble is completed cooking.
- Once the potatoes are soft, remove from heat and drain the water from them, reserving a few tablespoons to keep the potatoes moist while mashing. Using a wooden spoon or a potato masher, mash the potatoes to a consistency of your liking.
- There are plenty of great recipes for mashed potatoes out there, but they all consist of roughly the same thing: potatoes, some butter, some milk or cream. Rather than commit to a specific amount of butter and milk, I’m a firm believer in adding each little by little until you get the taste and texture you want. Start with a tablespoon of butter and a splash of milk, build from there until the potatoes are creamy. Throw in some salt and whatever other additions you may want. The door is wide open for improvising, but here are some I recommend:
- Chopped green onion
- Caramelized onion
- While the gravy finishes simmering, fry up some of your favorite sausages using a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over high heat. Veggie sausages usually only take a few minutes to heat all the way through, if you’re using the real thing, it may take longer.
- Plop a heap of potatoes on each plate. Arrange a sausage on each bed of potatoes. Top with plenty o’ gravy.