Here's another ugly duckling...not the most attractive little supper, but certainly warm and comforting before a long week ahead. And for the record, I swear I feed my husband an adequate amount of food (okay, maybe a little more than adequate), we just have huge plates.
This is another version of bangers and mash. Did I tell you how we took our honeymoon to London and Paris? And can you guess which country inspired me more in the kitchen? Not the one I would have predicted! This plate was inspired by recipes from Rachel Allen's Favorite Food at Home. This is, ahem, a newer acquisition in my life. After fawning over Allen's books in London, and when I can find them here in the US, I finally found a used copy of this one and LOVE it! We are three for three so far in the recipes I've tried. I mean, hello, did you see those crumpets? Anyone else have any Rachel Allen books? I mean, now I clearly need to get more, right? If I had to compare this book to others that I own, I would describe it as similar to something by Nigella Lawson or Tessa Kiros.
Now, back to my little dinner. OK, people, this ain't a quick one. It took me about an hour and a half to get on the table, so not entirely bad. And the sausages are a cinch (and delish)! I love recipes like this that roll the side dishes right into the recipe. It makes me feel like being a little girl, and the nice square meals my mom served. My meals tend to be much more lopsided, and my usual approach to side dishes involves plunking some greens on the plate followed by toppings from the pantry (at best). But seriously, doesn't that little puddle of applesauce on the side sort of remind you of the TV dinners you ate when you were a kid? You ate those too, right? The LooneyTunes ones? The cherry or apple dessert got hot and cooked right along with the mac and cheese? Mmm. Those were the days...
So, I adapted this quite a bit to lighten it up. Feel free to unlighten it. Like put the rest of the stick of butter in the mash. Also, Allen calls for ground pork for the sausages...we don't eat pork at home, so I used a mix of very lean beef and chicken, which was just dandy to us. And, erm, one more thing about the mash. Okay, I got a little retro for another time period. Remember the Atkins diet? And the mashed cauliflower subbing in for mashed potatoes? Um, yeah. I totally, completely, mashed some cauliflower right in with my taters. And then I went all Jessica Seinfeld and didn't really tell my husband till after he announced he liked it. In my defense, and I really do have one...I made a colcannon once years ago when I was trying the Atkins diet for like a whole day (what was I thinking? I love me some carbs) with cauliflower instead of potatoes. And it was so good. Memorably good. And so, with good culinary intentions at heart, I busted some cauliflower right in there with my mash. The cauliflower so nicely complements the flavor of the cabbage. Delish. And then, if you want to be super-cool like me, you could call it...caulicannon. Please come back to my blog and I promise that this will be the worst joke you ever read!
1 garlic clove, peeled and pushed through a garlic press
1 tsp fennel seeds
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram
1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
salt and pepper
4 tsp canola oil, divided
For the colcannon:
3 large white floury potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into large chunks (about 1 inch)
1 small-medium head cauliflower, washed, cut into large chunks (about 1 inch)
1 small head green cabbage, cut into quarters, cored, and sliced fairly thin
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 cup hot milk
salt and pepper
For the applesauce:
3 cooking apples (I used Ginger Gold)
2-3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp brown sugar
a little cinnamon (optional)
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the sausages together, but feel free to start off with smaller amounts of the seasonings. Fry up a tiny bit in skillet, and taste it once cooked through to see if the seasonings are good. Add salt and pepper...go easy on the salt, since there is some in the Montreal Steak seasoning!
2. Shape the rest of the sausages into small logs -- this recipe should yield 12-14. Place on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge until you are ready to use them. (They can hang out in there up to a day, or can alternatively be frozen.)
3. Get the applesauce going. Peel the apples, and cut into 1 inch sized chunks. Place over low heat with the water, and cover. You can kind of ignore them a bit...just check from time to time and give them a stir. They will mush and turn to sauce pretty much on their own. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste towards the end. If at any point the mixture is looking too thin, leave the pot off for a while. Once the apples have turned to a slightly lumpy sauce, turn the heat down to warm (or turn the heat off and serve the applesauce at room temperature).
4. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and salt it. Add the potato chunks. Cook for five minutes, and add the cauliflower. After another 5 minutes or so, pour out 3/4 of the water and turn the heat down to low. cover the pot, and cook another 5 or 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage once the butter is melted, and cook thoroughly. (I like mine caramelized a little bit myself.) Once the potatoes and cauliflower are soft, pour them into a colander, and return the steaming vegetables to the pot. Put the pot back on the hot burner to dry them a little. Add 1 Tbsp butter, and mash. Add the hot milk, a little at a time, to reach desired consistency. The cauliflower is watery, so you most likely won't want to add the full cup. Mix the cabbage in, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve very hot.
5. To cook the sausages, add 2 tsp of canola oil to the large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and sizzling, add about 5-7 sausages. Flatten a little with a spatula -- you want an even thickness! Cook the sausages about 12-15 minutes, flipping once or twice during the cooking. Once the first batch is done, repeat the process with the remaining 2 tsp of canola oil and sausages.