While traditional bangers and mash is commonly regarded as British pub fare, the dish enjoys an undeniable association (alongside the omnipresent corned beef and cabbage) with everyone’s favorite Irish holiday – St. Patrick’s Day. Setting aside any debates about the dish’s definitive homeland, it’s a damn good excuse to embrace meat and potatoes… especially if we can work some equally damn good cider into the mix.
If you are a bangers and mash purist, do keep this disclaimer in mind: this rendition is a non-Irish person’s curiosity-fueled take on the classic. For the sausages, think beer brats, but swap out the beer for cider and substitute chicken-apple sausages instead of pork for a slightly lighter result.
We used Art + Science‘s 2015 West Valley cider to add body to a no-nonsense comfort dish. The Oregon farm-based cidery forages the apples for this cider from its community, adding in a small amount of quince into the blend for an elegant sipper that is dry, tart and pure fruit. Apple sausages were a natural choice here, as they mesh particularly well with the dry cider, which adds a hint of candied sweetness to the links as they brown up while grilling.
For the sausages:
8-10 large chicken-apple sausages
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
½ stick butter
Art + Science 2015 West Valley, to cover
For the mashed potatoes:
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
½ stick unsalted butter
4 ounces crème fraîche
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons whole-grain or coarse mustard
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare your sausages. Place sliced onions and butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until fragrant and just barely translucent (about 5 minutes). Carefully add sausages, then pour in cider until sausages are covered. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until sausages are cooked.
Strain out the links and onions, reserving the cider. In a grill pan over medium high heat, grill sausages with onions until sausages are golden-brown. Add cider to the grill pan until ready to serve.
Drain cooked potatoes and return to the saucepan. Add butter, crème fraîche, milk, mustard, salt and pepper and blend the potatoes in the pan with a handheld mixer on low speed until smooth. Alternatively, mash the potato mixture by hand until mostly smooth.
To serve, place desired number of sausages atop a heaping scoop of potatoes.