‘Ello, there! Today I’m sharing a recipe for grilled sausages and truffled mashed potatoes, a rift on a traditional British “bangers and mash.” I usually pair it with a light green apple and celery slaw (the recipe will follow tomorrow) to make a filling, easy weekday dinner.
This recipe for grilled sausages and truffled mashed potatoes is just one of a handful of British recipes that I’ve adopted recently into my repertoire of easy, fast, filling weekday meals. In the past, I’ve been guilty of thinking that British food was bad food. When I lived here as a graduate student in 2002-2003, there was more bad food than good, I have to admit.
I think that my misperception of British food boiled down to two factors: 1) I was a poor student, so most of the food I was eating, on the rare occasions I did eat out, was cheap Indian takeaway or greasy pub food and 2) British food has experienced a rebirth in the years since I’ve last lived here. In fact, London is now home to three of the world’s top 50 restaurants, just one less than New York City (which has the most of any city on the list).
Here in London, there are sausages galore that are ready-made in every size, shape and flavor imaginable. Local butchers often make their own, and I’ve had some really outstanding sausages from places like the Ginger Pig. Ginger Pig makes a great lamb merguez sausage is spicy and pairs really well with a good fried egg. They’re so good that I ate two once while standing in my kitchen with my eyes half-closed, humming quietly until one of my kids interrupted me with an incredibly judgmental, “MA! What are you doing?!”
My response? “Honey, this is nothing you haven’t seen before.”
Anyway, for our regular “go to” sausages, I order Black Farmer sausages from our London grocery delivery service, Ocado. Did you know you can get anything (and seriously, I mean anything, even live tropical fish) delivered here to your apartment in London? At first, I was resistant to grocery delivery because I like to squeeze, smell, poke and prod my produce, but I’ve since learned that grocery delivery is a wonderful time saver for keeping pantry staples stocked.
Now, instead of spending our weekends running errands between multiple grocery stores like we did in the U.S., we’re free to explore London and enjoy hanging out with the kids. I still visit local markets once a week (like my favorite, Borough Market) for produce and have been experimenting with organic produce box delivery, but haven’t settled on a favorite yet.
Back in the U.S., we used to only eat sausages whenever we grilled outside, but here in London, we don’t have a grill (although we have a miles-long balcony that the kids like to scurry up and down repeatedly like hamsters on a wheel). Instead, I bought a little grill pan for getting those nice charred grill marks, and it’s worked out — kind of. I have to crack open all of the windows in our kitchen and dining room and turning on the ventilation fan, all while fanning smoke out with my free hand, but it works.
These grilled sausages and truffled mashed potatoes are hearty and satisfying, but not too difficult (especially if you have an outdoor grill). The key here is to make sure that you don’t over-mash your potatoes, and that you incorporated melted butter over a low heat. Using cold butter (or milk, if you’re using it) “shocks” the potatoes and turns them gummy. Actually, for a great essay on why exactly this happens, check out former lawyer/food writer Jeffrey Steingarten’s excellent discussion on mashed potatoes in his book, The Man Who Ate Everything.
I love this dish because it’s something I can throw together with little more than two packages of sausages and a handful of potatoes. I add the green apple and celery slaw when I have the ingredients on hand, but it’s just as nice with any bright green salad. The truffle oil drizzled on top of the potatoes just brings together this wonderful earthiness and makes this dinner feel like an occasion.
Of course, any dish with truffles is an occasion, right? Even if it’s just a scrambled egg and sweatpants morning. I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing (which I, for one, totally am).
- 8 pork sausages (buy the best you can find)
- 4 large floury potatoes (in the U.S., use baking potatoes; in the U.K, use Maris Pipers)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- 1.5 tablespoons salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- Wash, peel and cut potatoes into 1.5 inch to 2 inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a large stock pot, cover the potatoes with cold water until the level of the water is about 1 inch above the potatoes. Add a sprinkling (about ½ teaspoon) of salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, about 10-12 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and set the colander over the pan you cooked the potatoes in to let the potatoes dry a bit (this is called steam-drying).
- Heat and oil an outdoor grill or on a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Add sausages and grill on both sides until fully cooked. If you're using a grill pan, sear both sides of the sausages over medium high heat, then add a ½ cup of water and let the water boil off until completely evaporated.
- While the sausages are cooking, take the colander off the stockpot and melt the butter in it over medium-low heat. Tip the stockpot so that the butter slides to one side of the pot and add the potatoes back in to the other side. Gradually mash the potatoes (either with a potato masher or a fork), bringing in the butter as you mash the potatoes.
- Once the butter and the potatoes are fully incorporated, gently fold in the creme fraiche and salt, then season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Drizzle truffle oil over the mashed potatoes and serve immediately with the sausages.