Irish Bangers and Mash is classic Irish and British pub food and the kind of thing us Americans are most likely to eat around Saint Patrick's Day.
If you have access to Irish Sausage, it's worth seeking out. But honestly, any sort of fatty pork sausage, such as Bratwurst, will do.
In this recipe, bangers cooked in Guinness, then served on top of buttery cream cheese mashed potatoes and smothered in onion gravy flavored with thyme, mustard, and more Guinness.
Comfort food doesn't get any more comforting than this.
Why are Bangers and Mash Called Bangers and Mash?
That was my question as well. So before writing this recipe, I did some googling to find out where the term "bangers" came from.
Apparently, the sausages made in the UK during WWI had such a high water content (meat shortages) that they were liable to blow up during cooking. So, the sausages literally went "bang". 💥
I also learned that Bangers and Mash are frequently rated as Britain's favorite comfort food, something that makes complete sense to me.
I mean, is it even possible to get more comforting than creamy mashed potatoes topped with sausages and gravy?
What Kind of Bangers (Sausage) Should You Use?
Considering the WWI origins of the word "bangers", I realize the irony of using German bratwurst to make this dish. And yet, that's most often what I use.
But, if you can find it, traditional Irish Sausage or English Sausage is worth seeking out.
A quick lesson in terms: Bangers, English Sausage, and British Sausage generally refer to the same thing. The names are used interchangeably.
In addition to pork, eggs, and seasonings, true Irish sausage must contain at least 20% filler. The filler is made with a specific type of bread crumbs called "rusk". When properly cooked, Irish sausage is crispy on the outside, and juicy and flavorful on the inside.
For English-style bangers and mash, Cumberland sausage is the way to go. And while I would happily purchase Cumberland or Irish Sausage, I've rarely seen them in American markets.
But, you know what kind of sausage is always available in American supermarkets? Bratwurst.
And that, my friends, is why Bratwurst is used in this recipe. But, please feel free to use whatever kind of sausage you like.
The Onion Gravy is Delicious, but Optional
Irish Bangers and Mash is sometimes served with gravy and sometimes not. It's good either way. If you want to skip it, just make the mashed potatoes and then skip to step #4 in this recipe.
If you do skip the gravy, I'd suggest serving this dish with a generous amount of grainy mustard.
The gravy contains a lovely assortment of pungent, vinegary flavors that are gorgeous with the creaminess of the mashed potatoes and salty sausage. Mustard isn't the same as onion gravy, of course. But it will add in some of the same flavors.
What to Serve with Bangers and Mash
I generally think a rich dish like this one begs to be served with a green vegetable, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts is perfect here.
They only take about 10 minutes of hands on prep work and can roast in the oven while you carry on making bangers and mash on the stovetop.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
- Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes (3lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, 6-oz cream cheese, 4-oz butter, ½ cup milk, salt and pepper)
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 21 ounces Guinness, divided
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 bratwurst sausages
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Prepare Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes according to recipe instructions Cover and keep warm while making the sausages and onion gravy.
- Heat butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat until melted. Add the onions, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the browned onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in 7 ounces of Guinness, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour in the chicken stock, then add the mustard and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to medium-high and the gravy to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the gravy simmers, set a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the sausages to the pan. Let the sausages cook on one side until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the sausages over and let brown on the other side.
- Pour the remaining 14 ounces of Guinness into the pan with the sausages and turn the heat down to medium. Let cook until the sausages are completely cooked through and most of the Guinness has evaporated, 10-15 minutes. (*See note)
- Taste the gravy and add more salt, pepper, or mustard if desired.
- To serve: Top a generous amount of cream cheesed mashed potatoes with one or two sausage and a couple spoonfuls of onion gravy. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh parsley.
If the beer has evaporated before the sausages are cooked through, add a bit of water to the pan and continue cooking until the sausages are done. To know if they are cooked through, cut one in half and look inside - there should be no pink.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 Sausage
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 663Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 1377mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g