3/16/2012 – It’s not spotted dick, but still…

The Brits have some interesting names for their foods, “spotted dick” being one of the most interesting. Then there’s “bubble and squeak”. Tonight we supped on what has to be one of the easiest meals to make ever. And the name isn’t bad either: “bangers and mash”.

Although I’d heard of “bangers and mash” long before, the first time I actually tasted it was at the Alberta Street Pub in Portland Oregon while we were waiting to see Devil Makes Three perform there. It couldn’t be a simpler meal. Just sausages and mashed potatoes with onion gravy. Simple but oh, so good. Another entry in the comfort food category.

A couple days ago I was at the Mega supermercado and, in the little import section they have, I found a 5-pack of nice looking sausages. What’s up with a five pack? Anyway, these were labeled “Chorizo Argentino de cerdo y res”. Cerdo y Res? That’s pork and beef! Obviously they were imported because if they’d been Mexican they would have been “de pavo” (turkey). These sausages looked more like bratwurst than chorizo as we know it here. I grabbed a package. No telling if they’ll be there next trip.

Not sure what made me start thinking about bangers and mash but think of it I did. Checked a few likely spots on the internet to see what was involved. Found one recipe that was a tad too fussy but another that sounded just as good but was much simpler. I picked the simpler one and then tweaked it a teeny bit.

As long as you don’t have to make your own bangers, this could not be simpler. Mashed potatoes are easy: Just boil up about 6 quartered peeled potatoes until they’re tender clear through, drain them, mash them with a potato masher, add some milk and butter and salt and pepper until they’re the right consistency and spiced right.

I leave the sausage cooking up to you: grill ’em, steam ’em, steam ’em in beer, nuke ’em, whatever pleases you. In our case, since we only have 2 burners (one for the spuds and one for the gravy) and I didn’t want to fire up the charcoal grill, and I really didn’t want to nuke them, I tried cooking them under the broiler in the oven. Worked even better than expected. I was a bit dubious because there’s not much clearance down there and the sausages would be awfully close to the flame, but it worked out just fine.

While the spuds are cooking, you can get the gravy ready. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan and put over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 medium finely-chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is nicely browned, 20-30 minutes. Then add 3 tablespoons of flour and stir until the flour is completely incorporated with the onions/oil. Add 2 cups of beef or chicken stock (I used chicken). Heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy bubbles a bit and thickens up nicely. Mine was the consistency I wanted it just before it actually boiled. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Nuke some green beans and dinner’s ready.

Tomorrow we take a break from cooking (well, almost). Our friends Mike and Melissa on s/v Tortue are throwing their annual St. Patrick’s Day dock party complete with corned beef and cabbage and Jameson’s Irish whiskey. We’ll do the CB & C but I believe we’ll take a pass on the Jameson’s. As Roger Clyne says, “With all due respect and deference, tequila is (our) preference”. Lulu is going to make some Queso Cookies for appetizers. That’ll be another recipe we’ve never tried before.

So, now you know it’s not all about tacos and ceviche all the time down here. We’re quite well-rounded (and, if I’m not careful, I’ll get even better-rounded). Now, who’s up for some spotted dick?


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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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13 Responses to 3/16/2012 – It’s not spotted dick, but still…

  1. Ken says:

    Debra refuses to make a first time dish and take it to a party or feed visitors. Works out really well for me as I get to chow down twice! (except for a dish she made with beets- I would rather drag my tongue in the dog’s kennel) Ken

    • sryoder says:

      Oh but trying out unproven recipes on unsuspecting folks who have to say something nice is half the fun.

      BTW, your last sentence paints an uncomfortably vivid mental picture. YECH!

  2. Dani says:

    Looks good indeed. I’ll pass on the spotted dick however. Glad you were able to find some sausage. In the upcoming episodes, maybe you could prepare some gumbo with it!

    I like your new blog and your “about me” at the end of each post makes me laugh.

    Don’t hold back Yoder!
    Dani

    • sryoder says:

      Although we make gumbo, I’d be embarrassed to blog about it after Tate’s photo treatise on your blog awhile ago. But we do love our gumbo. And, what with all the shrimp available down here, well, add some sausage and some chicken and next thing you know: GUMBO! You guys ever use filé powder in yours? We never have. Also, okra is impossible to find down here, at least so far.

      -Steve

      • Tate says:

        Love filé powder and love okra. never use them in the same gumbo though! If you use filé powder, just add it to the servings in the individual bowls, not the whole pot. I’m used to people that don’t know what gumbo is so I thought I’d share those tips.

        I don’t know how hard it is to ship stuff to Mexico, but if you ever need filé or other spices from cajun country let us know and we’ll send you a care package.

      • sryoder says:

        Thanks, Tate. I did know about using either fil or okra but not both. BTW, I’m impressed by your use of accents. Nice touch. I love using accents, tildes, upside-down question marks, etc, since I figured out how. Appreciate the offer of a care package but shipping into Mexico can be problematic so I guess we’ll just do without until we visit the States again and can carry the stuff back in our luggage. Might have you ship us some stuff from cajun country that isn’t available in Oregon. If so, I’ll send you our stateside address later. Thanks, dude.

        -Steve

  3. Love your new blog, but, alas – found out we are BEHIND! Which means a treat is in store as we read aloud at breakfast…will probably take two or three days to catch up. Looking to change over to WordPress, too…can’t stand to post using blogspot any longer.

    Still laughing over “spotted dick”…I agree with Dani, we’ll pass on this meal as it looks a bit too heavy. Jeesh, eating lighter and walking everywhere you’d think we were losing weight, but …hmm…must be the flour tortillas. Couldn’t be the cervasas, the galletas, or the cheese, or hmm…ice cream on the malecon, now could it??

  4. Ken says:

    You can get Spotted Dick in a can in the import section of some stores. Our old Randall’s (Safeway clone) carried it. Our current store does not and I just don’t have the nerve to ask for it. I would feel like a old perve or something. Ken

  5. Store bought Spotted Dick just isn’t the same as freshly made-its actually really tasty. Kitty absolutely lived on bangers and mash while in the UK. You are eating the wrong beans with it though. You need tinned Heinz beans with it!

    • sryoder says:

      In Mazatln we’ve been lucky to find any canned green beans so we’ll just have to suffer along with S&W. Or, are Heinz beans a different bean; kidney. pinto, lima? If so, we’re even more out of luck. We can occasionally find canned black beans, maybe myaycoba benas, and possibly pinto beans. Otherwise, if they’re canned, they’re refried and I’m pretty sure that would be really inauthentic.

      Speaking of canned beans, don’t the Brits eat “beans on toast” for breakfast sometimes?

      -Steve

      • They eat beans at every meal. I think its a way to placate kiddies and get some protein into them. Kitty and Mark are fans of beans on toast, me not so much. I do applaud the Brits for serving cooked mushrooms at breakfast. Heinz beans are just like pork and beans without the pork and with a lot less sugar.

      • sryoder says:

        We have a recipe for Mushrooms on Toast that we’ll have to try out.

        -Steve

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