Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, you can make this lighter version of bangers ‘n mash at home, completely from scratch. This traditional dish from the British isles is comfort food at its finest, featuring rich homemade chicken sausages served over fluffy, buttery potatoes and slathered with a swoon-worthy onion gravy.
Why are they called bangers, anyway? The name comes from World War II, when, due to meat shortages, sausages were often made with a higher-than-normal water content, and they would sometimes explode (bang!) when cooked over high heat. We didn’t have any exploding sausages in our batch, luckily, unless you count the explosion of flavor (har har).
We’ve used freshly ground chicken in place of the traditional ground pork for a lighter version that is by no means short on flavor. A mix of light and dark meats keeps the sausages moist, and a few slices of bacon add extra flavor and fat to ensure a tender sausage. That plus a whole lot of black pepper and other spices makes for an extremely flavorful sausage even without all the extra fat.
Why not just go buy sausages? Well, you could, but making your own sausages allows you to fine tune the recipe to your personal preferences. YOU control the meat quality and spice quantity. It’s a messy process, I’ll give you that, and you’ll definitely need a second pair of hands, but the result is well worth the effort.
Speaking of effort… feel free to make double or even triple this recipe, as the sausages freeze beautifully for longer-term storage. If you’re going to go to the effort of making homemade sausages, making 9 or 18 or 32 really doesn’t take all that much more time, so you may as well make the most of it.
That gravy though (all the heart eyes here).
Not to be confused with the Thanksgiving variety, onion gravy is another beast entirely. Don’t be surprised if you want to slather it on everything from now on. It falls somewhere between thanksgiving gravy and French onion soup, if that helps you visualize (er, sensualize?) it. Cook those onions low and slow and you will be greatly rewarded.
This recipe was created in partnership with KitchenAid®. All opinions are my own. Be sure to share your take on this recipes on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured on the @KitchenAidUSA account!
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (use a mix of light and dark meat)
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 slices oven-dried bread
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon dried or ground thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
- 1 piece (about 6 feet) natural pork casing
- shortening, for greasing
- mashed potatoes and onion gravy, for serving
- Slice chicken and bacon into 1-inch strips. Freeze for 15 to 30 minutes (this will make the meat easier to grind). Cut bread into 1-inch strips or cubes. If bread is still moist, dry it out in a 250 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. You don’t want to brown the bread, just thoroughly dry it out.
- Whisk together salt, pepper, and all spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over meat.
- With the fine blade of the KitchenAid® Food Grinder attachment in place and a bowl underneath to catch the ground meat, turn mixer to speed 4. Feed strips of meat down the feed tube, using the food presser as needed. Alternate strips of meat with a piece of bread to grind it evenly throughout.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate until you are ready to stuff your sausages.
- Replace the grinder blade with the large sausage stuffer tube. Grease with shortening. Slip the casing onto the sausage, leaving a couple inches of tail hanging off the end.
- Turn the mixer on to speed 4 (or whatever you are comfortable with. Feed bits of meat (lightly shaped into oblong logs) down the feed tube, using the pusher to move the meat towards the auger. It helps to have a second set of hands for this part.
- Holding on to the tail with one hand and the main length of sausage with the other, let the meat fill the sausages, gently guiding more casing off the tube so the sausage fills evenly. You can make one long link, or stop after about 18 inches or so (about 3 links worth). Pull off the sausage, leaving a few inches of tail, then trim. Tie off ends of sausage with a string or by tying the casing in a knot. If you have any lumps, you can reshape the sausages slightly at this point. Divide the piece into even lengths, then twist in opposite directions to form links. Repeat with remaining meat and casings.
- Refrigerate sausages for at least 1 hour before cooking, or freeze for later use.
- To cook sausages, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add sausages, shimmying them a few times so they don’t stick. Cover skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook another 5 to 7 minutes or until browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Serve warm over mashed potatoes and spoon over onion gravy.