Monday, 28 February 2011

sausage and mash

Sausage and mash is a simple pleasure. It's not a complicated meal to prepare, and so invites a development of family ritual around it. In this house the mash verges on the mousseline, with lots of milk and butter. The sausages must be high meat content, and we're happy to have merguez or other spicy sausage. I like some Dijon mustard, preferably served with a small wooden mustard spoon. Others indulge themselves with pickles and chutneys, and sweet chilli sauce has graced the table alongside the sausage at times. But the main thing is the mash.

Vegetable accompaniments with family approval include green salad with family dressing, carrot with onion (also called caramel carrots) and cabbage. Savoy cabbage, spring greens or finely shredded white cabbage, braised with a little finely sliced onion, some butter, a pinch of salt and a few vigorous grindings of black pepper. The only liquid needed is what the cabbage brings with it from having been washed.

Onion gravy also has its place - especially for those evenings when hunger strikes hard.

For the mash I favour a white potato, a little over cooked and drained. Milk is then brought nearly to the boil in the potato pan, the drained potatoes are added, and the mashing begins. I start with a push down masher and finish with a fork. Butter is included, a couple of pinches of salt, several grindings of black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg - I grate it into the pan. My dad used enough to cover the tip of a sharp knife, but I use more. The potatoes are mashed to a smooth consistency, then turned into a heatproof bowl and popped under the grill until the top gets toasty.

Serve with sizzling sausages of choice.

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