The best bangers and mash I’ve eaten to date was in Dublin, Ireland back in 2010. Though I debated going up to Dublin for a couple of days (specifically for Juno’s, popping in to say hallo to the folks at Gate Lodge and to check out a few museums Steffie and I did not previously have time for) it just did not happen. The money for train, accommodation, food, etc. would have set me back to eating porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least four days. Sad I would not be indulging in a repeat visit to Juno’s Cafe, I set out to make my own bangers and mash using Cork’s own best, O’Flynns Gourmet Sausage.
O’Flynns has a cafe adjacent to the English Market and I did try to go there, but it was the bank holiday and they were not serving bangers and mash but sausage sandwiches. Oh, well. If I managed to return to them, I would indulge but I reworked my angle and decided to visit them in the English Market to bring home and cook with instead. I planned to share it with Csabi, my host brother, giving him the night off in the kitchen. I had no idea just how varied the selection of sausage is at O’Flynns! It made for a difficult time as I really wanted one of just about everything. I settled for a combination of pork and leek sausage (their recommendation for bangers & mash) with the rosemary and thyme pork sausage. I bought three but kind of sad that I just didn’t splurge and get, you know, ten.
View of the full moon from the balcony that night
It wasn’t until I was home and already underway that I remembered I forgot to buy stock for my mushroom gravy. Taking my culinary crisis to Twitter, my pal Ben saved the day by suggesting stout in lieu of stock. Genius. With a little improvisation and creativity, I managed to come up with a dinner that was well-received. This isn’t the exact recipe, though, so just be sure to read my notes to understand where I altered the recipe.
Bangers and Mash with Murphy’s Stout & Mushroom Gravy
3 or 4 bangers – I highly recommend O’Flynns Gourmet Sausage
1/2 cup/120 ml Murphy’s stout
1/2 cup/120 ml beef stock
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 16 oz. pack of mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs butter
1 tbs Olive oil
Flour, for thickening
In a skillet heat up the butter and oil before adding the onions and ensuring they are well coated. Cook them over low heat for 30-45 minutes minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions do not stick.
Tip: I started cooking the sausage about midway through the caramelizing process, going the traditional skillet method of turn-turn-turn until evenly browned on the outside.
When the onions are just about caramelized to your liking, add the mushrooms and allow them to saute until softened a bit, about 5-10 minutes. Add the stout, stock and sausage, regardless if they are cooked through or not, and let it all simmer until bangers are cooked through.
Season the gravy as you like it – I used some garlic powder, mysterious Hungarian seasoning Csabi introduced me to (I’m sure it had something to do with pepper and paprika), and some dried herbs like thyme and rosemary, to compliment the sausage.
Sprinkle in the flour to thicken the gravy as needed.
Serve with mashed potatoes and English peas
I added the beef stock for this recipe though I did not have any on hand myself at this time. I wanted to keep the onions separate initially, too, but the stout gravy proved to be too malty and coarse straight up. The onions sweetened it up, but I would definitely make sure to have beef stock on hand next time around so I can cut the intensity of the stout.