So an award winning local butchers (M&W Farm Meats) contacted me a few weeks ago enquiring about our range of beers.  They floated the idea of making some beef sausages using McCrackens Red Ale.  For anyone that knows me, knows I love sausages and can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes, it has been known to happen!) so I obviously loved the idea of combining one of my personal favorite beers along with one of my favorite types of food. 

I eagerly awaited their call to let me know the sausages were ready. A couple days later the call came….

As I had been expecting it, I had a bit of time to prepare what I was going to do with them when I got them! Sure I could just through them in the pan and serve them with chips or mash but I wanted something a bit more special. Afterall its not every day you get something from the butchers that you’ve had a hand in making.

I finally decided on making McCrackens Irish Red Bangers & Mash with Red Onion Ale Gravy. As my four year old would say, “it was delicious”!

Ingredients

  • 8 McCrackens beef & Leek sausages (Available from M&W Farm Meats)

For the gravy

  • 3 Red onions, sliced thinly
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 500ml McCrackens Irish Red Ale
  • 500ml beef stock
  • ½ star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

For the Mash

  • 700g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoon milk (or more)
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

Cover peeled, cut potatoes with cold, salted water, simmer until tender: Place the peeled and cut potatoes into a medium saucepan. Add cold water to the pan until the potatoes are covered by at least an inch. Add a half teaspoon of salt to the water.

Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke through the potatoes with a fork.

Melt butter, warm cream: While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and warm the cream. You can heat them together in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.

Drain cooked potatoes, mash with butter, cream, milk: When the potatoes are done, drain the water and place the steaming hot potatoes into a large bowl. Pour the heated cream and melted butter over the potatoes.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Then use a metal spoon to beat further.

Add milk and beat until the mashed potatoes are smooth. Don’t over-beat the potatoes or the mashed potatoes will end up gluey.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the Red Ale and onion gravy, heat the oil and the butter in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the onions and sugar and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft and richly caramelised. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the beer, beef stock, star anise, cloves and bay leaves and boil vigorously until reduced to a rich, glossy sauce – about 20 minutes in a large sauté pan. Remove the star anise, bayleaves and cloves (if you can find them) from the gravy and season to taste with some salt and pepper.

For the sausages heat the oil for the sausages in a large frying pan. Add the sausages and fry them over a medium heat for 10 minutes, turning now and then, until nicely browned and cooked through.

Spoon the mashed potatoes onto warmed plates and rest the sausages alongside. Pour over some of the gravy and serve with a glass of McCrackens Irish Red Ale (Optional).

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