Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe: "Banger" Balls and Mash

It takes some skill to spoil a breakfast – even the English can't do it. – John Kenneth Galbraith

Delicious meatballs with homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut and "mash"
I was looking at my recent posts and found out I had been a real world traveller over the last few weeks. Scandinavia, India, Ethiopia, China… I'm actually feeling a bit tired. Perhaps I should go home, culinarily.

So I settled into something that made me feel like I was home, snug and warm. My mother and father used to bake sausages with sauerkraut and onions and serve it all with plenty of mashed potatoes. True comfort food. Nice memories.

Bangers & Mash. Photo: Wiki CC
You'll note this is banger "balls." What on earth could those be? Well, if you read my blog you'll know I don't have a sausage stuffer. So whatever sausage I do make ends up as sausage meat, as opposed to links. And much ends up as meatballs.

Sometime this year I'm buying a sausage stuffer. I swear. Then there'll be no stopping me, except for finding casings… (Insert evil laughter here)

Perhaps a better title for this would have been English Sausage Balls with Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut and Mash, but that's not  very pretty – or eloquent. This sausage does really taste like bangers, not very spicy but flavourful, as good English cooking should be.

But why are they called bangers? 
From Wikipedia:
Although it is sometimes stated that the term "bangers" has its origins in World War II, the term was actually in use at least as far back as 1919. The term "bangers" is attributed to the fact that sausages, particularly the kind made during World War II under rationing, were made with water so they were more likely to explode under high heat if not cooked carefully; modern sausages do not have this attribute.

Interesting. I promise you this recipe will not explode in any way. What you will get is a very easy, delicious and healthy meal. Now that hits the spot!

By the way, I used my own lacto-fermented sauerkraut that I had made before Christmas. It is amazing and very healthy for you. Lacto-fermentation helps colonize the intestines with healthy flora. There are several other health benefits as well. It's easy to make. Look HERE to find out more.

English Banger Sausage
Makes 2 lbs
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
4 slices fresh white bread, ground in a food processor
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp marjoram
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients together very well with your hands and stuff into casings. Or leave loose.

Ready to go into the oven – covered of course!
Banger Balls with Sauerkraut
Prep: 15 min  |  Cook: 50 min  |  Serves 4
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 recipe of sausage above (about 1 lb)
1 L sauerkraut with its liquid
1 lg onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6 juniper berries
6 whole cloves
1/2 cup white wine
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Shape the sausage meat into 8 large meatballs. Heat the oil in an oven-proof pot with a lid. Brown the meatballs on two sides. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, juniper and cloves to the pot. Sauté until the onions begin to soften. Then add the garlic and sauté for a further minute.

Pour the sauerkraut with its liquid into the pan. Mix with the onion. Pour the white wine over and nestle the balls back on top. Sprinkle withe lots of cracked black pepper.

Bake, covered, for 50 minutes.

Serve two meatballs with some sauerkraut and buttery mashed potatoes per person.


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