Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

Since the first time Patrick went to England, Bangers and Mash has been one of his favorite British dishes.  I made this the other day and it was a big hit with him and actually with me too. 

For those of you who may not know this dish, it is simply mashed potatoes with sausage and onion gravy.  I made the Mash with Yukon Gold potatoes, one of my favorite potatoes.  Here's the recipe for the onion gravy.

2 medium onions , peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tsp corn starch
4 tsp cold water
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cover with a lid.  Cook slowly until the onions are soft.  Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar to the onions and cover and cook for 5 more minutes. 

Add the stock and boil gently uncovered for 5 minutes.

Mix the corn starch with the cold water to form a thin paste.  Pour a little of the hot gravy into the starch mixture and mix thoroughly.  Pour into the gravy and boil for 10 minutes until the gravy is slightly thickened.  Keep warm until ready to serve. 

Cook the sausages.

All the ingredients for the onion gravy. 

Onion gravy. 

Ready to cook the sausages. 

Cooked sausages. 

Ready to eat. 

I'll have to try Yorkshire pudding next.

Asparagus Soup for a Cold Day or a Sore Throat

Simmering the asparagus and onion. 

It is a very cold day here in Raleigh, and I have a sore throat, so this soup fits the bill.  I highly recommend it for either. 

Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan
Servings: 4-6
 2 bunches asparsagus (about 2 pounds)   
 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
·        1 onion, chopped
·        3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
·        6 cups low sodium chicken broth
·        Salt
·        Freshly ground black pepper
·        2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
·        1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
·        Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil (optional, for garnish)
1.     Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
2.     In the meantime, cut the tips off of the asparagus spears and set aside. Cut the remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
3.     Add the chopped asparagus (except for the tips) to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
4.     Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the reserved asparagus tips for a few minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water or in an ice bath. Set aside.
5.     Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions). Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired (you may need up to a teaspoon more salt).

6.     Ladle the soup into bowls, then top each bowl with asparagus tips, fresh chopped herbs, more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

Cut up asparagus except tips. 

Save the tips for garnish. 

Sauteing onions and garlic. 

Simmer the asparagus. 

Blend the cooked asparagus and onion. 
Ready to serve with a garnish of asparagus tips. 
This really hit the spot.
Yes, this is good for a cold day, a sore throat, or both!

Braised Collard Greens as Appetizer

An appetizer of sauteed collard greens drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar. 

My family isn't all that fond of collard greens, but I guess I must be a bit superstitious because I usually do serve them on New Year's Day.  Supposedly eating collard greens brings prosperity in the coming year, but I suppose any greens might work.

I decided this year to cook a very small portion using only one bunch of fresh collard greens.  We will eat this as an appetizer for our meal of black-eyed peas and cornbread.

Here's my recipe:  4 servings as appetizer

1 bunch of fresh collard greens (About 4 cups when cut up.)
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup of diced onion
1 cup of water
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Reduced balsamic vinegar for drizzling*

1.  Wash the collard greens and remove the stems and central large veins.  Roll up leaves and cut into thin strips.
2.  Wash the strips in a colander and drain.
3.  Add olive oil and onion to pan and saute over medium heat until onion is soft.
4.  Add cut up greens and cook on medium heat until wilted.
5.  Turn heat to high and add 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar.  When vinegar is incorporated, turn heat back down to low, add water, cover pan and simmer until greens are cooked until tender and water is absorbed.  (About 20 to 30 minutes.)
6.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
7.  When ready to use, heat over medium heat, and when ready to serve  drizzle about a teaspoon of reduced balsamic vinegar on the greens of each serving for a sweet and tangy taste.

*To reduce balsamic vinegar heat gently until vinegar thickens and is reduced by half.   For a slightly sweeter taste you can add a bit of honey to the vinegar when reducing.
Fresh collards. 
Remove stems and central veins.

Cut leaves into small strips. 

Wash strips in colander to remove any grit.
Saute onion.

Saute greens until wilted. 
Serve with reduced balsamic vinegar drizzled over greens. 

This is now ready for tomorrow.  Bring on prosperity!