Sausage and mash with onion gravy ….. a good cure for grey Januariness..

groupWhite is absent; grey is in the ascendant. We are at the beginning of our happy new year yet our hopes are already pinned on tomorrow.  Rain drops fall from the eaves mimicking the sound of irregular footsteps but no one stirs from their homes. It’s as though the world has paused to take stock of the promises and hopes that we have made on its behalf. Such a time as this calls for stiff resolve or, in the absence of that, fried sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and full flavoured onion gravy.  This is a dish that is as good as you want to make it. Its success lies in the time and care taken over its preparation. One might say that it is slow food in fast foods’ clothing.


Mashed potato can be fuel or ambrosia. I prefer the latter which comes at a price, which is mostly paid in the currency of time. I use the potatoes that are available to me, which do not include the floury potatoes to which I used to be accustomed and without which I believed that good mash could not be made. I was wrong. Put the peeled potatoes, cut into quarters, into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring them to the boil, adding some sea salt to the water, and leave them to cook until a pointed knife pierces them easily. Drain the potatoes and pass them through a potato ricer. Measured quantities are not at the forefront of my mind as I begin to enhance the creamy mass of smooth potato. A large lump of unsalted butter starts to melt into golden yellow pools which are stirred into the mass with a wooden spoon. Richness of flavour and depth of colour is enhanced with the addition of a whole egg and several large spoonfuls of creme fraiche. The unctuous mass needs seasoning and I supply it with white pepper, a grate of nutmeg and a pinch of sea salt. If the purée is too dense, it can be loosened with with some hot milk. The flavour of the mashed potato should be such that it would not matter that much if you had forgotten to cook any sausages. If you have not forgotten to cook the sausages, let them have been cooked slowly so that they have a sticky, caramelised coating. The onion gravy comes from the pen of Nigel Slater and is as delicious as it is simple:

Slice two onions thinly and slowly soften them in a thick bottomed pan with a large knob of butter. The onions should not brown, but slowly soften and turn slightly golden, which process may take some 20 minutes or so.  At this point,  put a lid on the pan and leave the onions to darken. Once this is achieved, stir in a level tablespoonful of flour and cook for several minutes, before adding 250ml of stock and 75ml of Madeira. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce and cook until the gravy is smooth and flavoursome.

We had a  very good lemon tart for pudding, of which more at another time….

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Cookery Writers, Cooking, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Herbs and Spices, mashed potatoes, Neil Perry, photography course, Photography holiday, Recipes, sea salt, Toulouse sausages, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to Sausage and mash with onion gravy ….. a good cure for grey Januariness..

  1. mrsugarbears says:

    Now I know what I am making for dinner tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. suej says:

    Real comfort food…. Funnily enough, last evening my supper was a Cumberland Sausage and red onion toasty, lots of herby and cheesy flavour in there as well…

  3. Never had mash like this before. Whole egg, creme fraiche and nutmeg…the thought will not leave my mind until I try it. (and of course with your onion gravy) As always, a very inspirational visit here today.

  4. I had never considered adding egg to my mashed potatoes. Additional flavour and colour you say? It never even crossed my mind. It would be something to try out I suppose. Do you make your own creme fraiche? I’m reading up on it, and it’s apparently much less sour than American sour cream.

    If I understand your comparison, we definitely keep it on the fuel side over here. The main reason is time. Making dinner is a rare occasion anymore, which it really shouldn’t, however pounding out a day’s worth of work isn’t very conducive to making a meal afterward. This is especially so if you’re single. One often does ask the question “should I really bother tonight?”

  5. marycadogan says:

    My favourite comfort supper. If you see Bintje potatoes in the market they make the fluffiest mash on earth.

  6. Mad Dog says:

    Perfect comfort food!
    As I walked down Piccadilly earlier, I noticed that it was definitely getting lighter at 4.30pm 😉

  7. Fig & Quince says:

    What a wonerfully apt name you’ve coined for that feeling of apres New Year: Januaririness! It’s perfect. I’ll take your recipe over still resolve … no actually I’d like both. Beautifully expressed post. A treat.

  8. oh yes, my absolute favourite of comfort foods, mashed potatoes, sausage and onion gravy or sometimes mushroom gravy. take your time, do it right, sit and enjoy. A great winter meal.

  9. Oh the simplicity of this sublime combination. Bangers and mash, a lovely meal in this dreary month of Janus, two-faced deity that he is. Great pictures too. I hunger for this, even though I just finished dinner.

  10. This meal sounds delicious 🙂

  11. Oh my God. I am almost swooning with envy – and don’t even get me started about the lemon tart for pudding. What a tease. Sigh.

  12. Absolutely my kind of food. I make this at least once a month – and agree, it’s got to be a potato ricer.

  13. This post inspired lunch today. Thank you for that.

  14. fransiweinstein says:

    That gravy sounds amazing!!! And you’ve just described the ultimate in comfort food for a cold and miserable winter’s day. I’m drooling!

  15. Misky says:

    I add an egg yolk to my mash also. It just makes it a cut above the usual.

  16. Stick to your ribs food. Perfect.

  17. Amanda says:

    Yum. Great pics. Comfort food at its best.

  18. catterel says:

    I’m drooling and – thinking about my cholesterol. But just once isn’t going to hurt, is it? Bangers and mash for supper tomorrow then. Thanks and bisous.

  19. Heaven – we had this the other night but with faggots instead of bangers…now that sounds rude doesn’t it for anyone who doesn’t know about these English terms!

  20. Karen says:

    Now that is not your usual sausage and mash, that looks like heaven. 🙂

  21. You turn even the simplest of meals into a feast … visually and otherwise. I can’t wait for the tarte au citron!

  22. EllaDee says:

    Sausages, mash and onion gravy is a year round meal in our house, and I’ll be adding Maderia to the shopping list to I can emulate your gravy. My best results to date are when I have time to slow braise in our Le Creuset casserole pan good sausages, sliced onions, stock, white wine and dashes of seasonings: sea salt, white pepper, mustard powder/mustard, worcestershire sauce and raw sugar to taste. I’m in need of a potato ricer also, so now I have a good reason to get organised.

  23. Pingback: under the influence « elladee

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