Tucking into a heap of bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) certainly fits the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. It just doesn’t often fit into a healthy diet.
Bangers and mash, which is popular throughout England and Ireland, typically is made with a mild pork sausage containing lots of breadcrumbs, a bit of sage and gobs of fat. Pile those onto a mound of buttery mashed potatoes topped with greasy gravy and you’ve got a nutritional nightmare.
But this inexpensive and comforting dish is easily remade without sacrificing the hearty flavors that make it seriously good pub grub.
To start with, not all sausages are made the same. Some pork bangers, such as the Irish-style links made by North Country Smokehouse, contain as little as 6 grams of fat each. Lower-fat chicken and turkey sausages also would be a good choice.
To make the mash a bit healthier, this recipe blends small red potatoes (with skins), cooked kale, tangy buttermilk, zesty coarse-grained mustard and only a tiny pat of butter. The result is deliciously similar to the classic Irish dish called colcannon.
The gravy, also spiked with mustard, is made with reduced-sodium chicken broth, onions, flour and very little oil, so you can say goodbye to the grease.
The recipe calls for cooked sausages, so if you are using an uncooked variety, boil them first, then split then down the center and brown them.
To complete the St. Paddy’s theme, serve with some hearty, whole-grain bread and (if you can spare the calories) a wee bit of stout.
Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy
11/2 pounds small red potatoes
8 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 pound)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
1 pound cooked chicken sausages, halved lengthwise
1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard, divided
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
Ground pepper, to taste
In a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and kale, then boil until the greens are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the kale to a colander. Rinse under cool water, then set aside to drain.
Continue cooking the potatoes until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about another 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the kale and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the sausages and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot, add the onion and saute until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to achieve a steady simmer, then stir in 1 tablespoon of the mustard, and return the sausages to the skillet.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of mustard, the butter and the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the potatoes and kale and using a potato masher, smash coarsely. Season with black pepper.
Serve the sausages and potato-kale mash topped with the onion gravy.
Yield: 6 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving: 348 calories; 147 calories from fat; 16 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 61 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 3 g fiber; 806 mg sodium.