Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Eats - Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak

The former Front St. Ale House in Friday Harbor
For many years our cruising tradition when coming home from the BC central coast was after checking through customs was a trip to the Front Street Ale House in Friday Harbor for supper.  This was always a favorite of mine and the crew.  It had some of the best English style pub fare south of the border - the Canadian border.  Add to that their small on-site micro brewery brewed up some of the best beers.  The Hefeweizen beer tasted exactly like what I would drink in Bavaria, Germany.  Unfortunately the Front Street Ale House has closed and a new restaurant has taken its place.

My traditional meal that I enjoyed repeatedly was the "Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak".  This was English pub fare at its finest.  Bangers are simply English sausages which are akin to German Bratwurst, but the pork is ground finer and the pork is mixed with breadcrumbs and water.  The term "banger" comes from when heated, the water in them turns to steam, expands and explodes.  They also differ from bratwurst in the seasonings used, having more mace, ginger, and sage.  "Bubbles and Squeak" is the mix of cabbage, onions, and mashed potatoes.  It gets the name "bubbles and squeak" because of the sounds as you cook it in the pan.  Of course to serve "bangers, bubbles and squeak" you have to smother it all with a rich brown, onion gravy.

Not to be outdone or disappointed at the loss of the Front Street Ale House, I proceeded to work hard to produce a "boat version" of "bangers, bubbles and squeak" that would not require a lot of preparation or a lot of ingredients.  To satisfy as a boat version, it's got to be easy to prepare - not more than 5 or 6 ingredients; take less than 15-20 minutes to prepare; not use an oven or any special tools or techniques; and not use more than two pans.  Finally, and most importantly it's got to taste good and meet or exceed what you can get in a restaurant.  I set about to make the perfect "boat version" of "bangers, bubbles and squeak."  Here's the recipe:

Bangers, Bubbles and Squeak
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 4 banger sausages
  • 2 T dried or dehydrated onions
  • 1 C dark beer or ale
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 C coleslaw mix - just cabbage mix not mayonnaise or other ingredients that are with coleslaw.
  • 2 C instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pkg brown gravy mix
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan that has at least 2" sides.  Fry bangers for 3-4 minutes each side or until the each side of the banger is browned - about 6-8 minutes total.  Sprinkle dried onions in the pan and add the beer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about another 5-6 minutes. This will ensure the bangers are fully cooked and add a great flavor to them.  When cooked, remove sausages from pan and keep warm, but do not discard liquid.  Pour liquid into a small bowl, you should have about 1/4 C of rich brown onion-beer liquid.

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes per the directions and set aside.

In the pan that the bangers were cooked over medium-heat add the butter and add the cole slaw mix and saute cabbage for 3-5 minutes.  Add prepared mashed potatoes to pan and mix well.  Cook cabbage and potato mix for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If mix gets too thick add milk to thin.

Boil 3/4 C water, pour into a bowl and add instant brown gravy mix as well as reserved liquid from cooking bangers and prepare instant gravy per package instructions.

Place bubbles and squeak on the plate, along with bangers, and top with gravy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary.  Enjoy.

I apologize for the heavy use of packaged mash potatoes and packaged brown gravy mix, but if you want to put the extra effort into making real mashed potatoes and real brown gravy on your boat - more power to you.  When I'm on shore I do go the extra effort to making real mashed potatoes and real brown gravy.

No comments: