By now, you know that I love food, cooking and traveling, but one thing you might not know is that I love music, too. Big time. (I play fiddle with the Bob Dylan group at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music and my head almost pops off every Saturday at how much it is.) And I’m a Stones fan. So when Keith Richards’ autobiography, “Life,” came out in late October, I ordered it immediately. It’s a fantastic book, through and through.
And while we all know that Keith can play the guitar and do drugs like nobody’s business (tho he’s been clean for 30 years now), who knew he could cook? Yes! And he can cook more than a spoonful of smack, too! On page 525, Keith shares his recipe for Bangers & Mash, and I just have to share it here, because it’s freaking hilarious:
Well, what’s a food blogger/musician to do, but make the damn thing? And you know what? It’s good. Really good. Look!
So herewith, I share with you how I did it, using Keith’s basic instructions, above. Tto round out this rockin’ dish, I suggest “Exile on Main Street” for dinner music, and a nice British stout to drink. Thank you, Mr. Keith Richards, for sharing your Life with us, and your recipe for Bangers & Mash. You’re the man. You are invited over for dinner any time. Just email me.
2 good-quality sausages (I used a chicken/pork sausage)
2 strips of bacon
1/2 a large red onion, sliced
About 1 C chicken stock
Splash of Balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper, fresh thyme – anything you want to season with, really.
A bit of cornstarch
WHAT YOU DO
1) Put the onion and bacon into a 10-12 inch straight-sided saute pan and fry it up on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until everything’s cooked through and soft. I had to use a bit of chicken stock to deglaze the pan mid-way through. Add your sausages and let them cook; Turn them with tongs every few minutes. If your onion and bacon are getting over-cooked (aka, burnt), remove them to a dish and you can return them to the pan later, for a little onion-bacon gravy business that I sort of made up. More on that in a minute.
2) So after about 15 minutes, your sausages should be cooked. Remove them to a dish and return the onion-bacon muck to the pan. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock (that is: just pour in a bit of stock and all the delicious brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan will magically come up and you’ll get all that flavor into your gravy. I added maybe a teaspoon of corn starch to thicken up the whole shootin’ match, and tossed in some fresh thyme leaves, salt and a splash of Balsamic vinegar (maybe a Tablespoon’s worth). And you know what? This gravy is BANGIN’! Alright, leave it on low, to keep warm, and move on to “yer mash,” as Keith calls it.
About 5-6 small-ish red skin potatoes (but really any kind of spud’ll work; use whatever you’ve got)
1 carrot, diced
About 1 Cup of frozen peas
About 1/4 quarter of a red onion, diced
Salt, pepp, butter and milk or half-and-half
WHAT YOU DO
1) Put a large pot of water on to boil and add a splash of apple cider vinegar (about a tablespoon). When it comes to a boil, add a hefty dose of salt (at least a couple tablespoon’s worth; come on, these spuds need some flavor!)
2) Chop yer spuds in half and add them to the boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes. Stick a fork into a potato half; if it goes in easily, you’re right on course.
3) Add the carrots, peas and red onion and cook 5 more minutes. Dump the whole lot into a colander and then dump it back into your pot.
4) Add some butter – a couple of Tablespoons – and some milk or half-and-half (maybe 3 Tablespoons) and mash the whole thing up into as smooth or chunky a mixture as you like. Taste. Add salt. Maybe some pepper. Taste again. Good? Ok. You’re ready to plate.
Put a blob of mash onto the plate, top with diagonally sliced sausages and either top with gravy or put it on the side – your choice. Keith likes HP sauce, but he’s British and I’m not, so you’re on your own there.