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Monday 7 February 2011

S&M Rodeo #1: Sparky Red Onion Gravy & Mustard Mash

There are two reasons this Blog is called snacks & the single man:
  1. It's a cool name, and no-one else had got there first
  2. I'm shit at first dates
Is this relevant? Who knows? Suffice it to say that, while this little experiment is all my own, the recipe is derived from something else, and the idea came from someone else. More specifically, from the overpriced, underwhelming Sausage & Mash served to them by a well-know London Bar/Restaurant.

I'll focus here on the gravy, since that's the complicated part and, to be honest, I didn't get it quite right on this run-through. The mustard mash was accomplished using Sainsbury's instant mash with a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard (Maille) and a small knob of butter. When I'm a bit more confident in the kitchen, I'll make the mash from scratch, too. Timings for each part will, by necessity, overlap somewhat... and I tend to get a bit skittish if I start thinking I need to to more than one thing at a time. Bad enough that I was cooking the pork sausages in the oven (Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 'Ultimate Outdoor Bred') while working on the gravy. That, and making the mash from scratch would have been... troublesome.

  • Red Onion (either one small one, or half a large one)
  • Coriander Powder (2 teaspoons)
  • Chilli Powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Turmeric Powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Ginger (reasonably sized blob)
  • Garlic (2 decent-sized cloves)
  • Vegetable Stock (Knorr Stockpot this time)
  • 250ml Water
Preparation time: about 45 minutes, at a guess. More experimentation needed...

Tools Required:
  • Chopping Board
  • Knife (for chopping onion, ginger and garlic)
  • Small/Medium Saucepan

I suspect a useful 'Step 1' would be to actually have some proper cooking lessons... or at least spend some time researching gravy before stepping into the breach and doing something as crazy as this.

Ah well.

So, start by chopping the onion. It's going to come apart, so chop according to your preferences - either slicing it or chopping it into fractions (quarters, sixths, eighths, depending on the size of the onion) then separating it into its layers - then dump it into the saucepan. Peel and finely chop the ginger, then add to the saucepan. Same for the garlic, as it happens. Makes it all seem really easy, doesn't it? Add the coriander, chilli and turmeric powders, then stir together in 250ml of water. Bring to the boil, then stir in the vegetable stock. Allow it all to simmer nicely, and hopefully thicken up.

The Results:
Now, bearing in mind that I used about twice as much water as I really needed (500ml! what was I thinking?) and also couldn't decide whether the saucepan should be on a high, medium or low heat (I suspect 'high' to begin with, then lowering to keep it warm once it's thickened up), so the end result was... rather runny... it actually turned out not bad at all... Again, largely due to the quantity of water involved (but also perhaps the amount of other ingredients), I ended up with at least twice as much gravy as I needed, which is a bit of a waste, but hey.

The recipe I based this on actually called for garlic and ginger paste... which might also have helped. Possibly I could have pulped, rather than slicing, the fresh stuff, but perhaps next time I'll follow the recommendations

The gravy itself was not half bad... very hot and spicy... and it certainly went well with the sausages. Though I do wonder in retrospect if it wouldn't have been better to add the onion later in the process. I'm sure it was in there somewhere, but it wasn't the most apparent flavour in there. It had certainly lost all of its crispness which, to be frank, is not what I was aiming for. Perhaps the idea would be to pressure-cook everything to begin with, then add extra onion to the end result and let it simmer for a while?

Addendum 9/2/11 - Forgot to mention that the recipe from which this is derived actually called for the wholegrain mustard to be part of the gravy. The idea of turning my plain old instant mash into Mustard Mash came from a recent S&M experience of my own (sorry, I will probably be milking that particular double entendre for all it's worth and more) while out on a day trip. I'm not completely certain I added enough mustard, or whether the sheer spiciness of the gravy overpowered it completely, but I suspect those little wholegrains would have been overloaded wherever they were, unless I'd made a mustard mash that was approximately 65% wholegrain mustard... and that would just be silly.

Sillier than everything else in this blog, that is.

The pork sausages didn't quite cook according to plan... or it could just be that I don't know what I'm looking at when it comes to cooking the blasted things in the oven. Normally, I'd fry them... but with a saucepan on the hob, I didn't fancy trying to balance it all with a frying pan as well. Of the three I cooked, one wasn't completely done within the time specified on the packaging, so I may have to rethink time and temperature next time.

Overall, though, for a complete novice like me, this experiment turned out reasonably well... And no signs of food poisoning yet...

1 comment:

  1. Alternative version:

    Red Onion (1 large)
    Coriander Powder (2 teaspoons)
    Crushed chilli seeds (1 teaspoon)
    Ginger (reasonably sized blob)
    Garlic (2 decent-sized cloves)
    Beef stock (Waitrose fresh in pot)
    English mustard powder (2 teaspoons – any brand but Colemans – long story there)

    Whilst my gravy was based on this recipe I did make changes.
    These were: Onion content doubled (I LIKE onions), Turmeric powder omitted as other diner violently allergic, freshly crushed chilli seeds substituted as that’s what I had, used made up beef stock. I also added in mustard powder as original intent included mustard (didn’t have wholegrain to hand)

    The Method was: sliced onion very thinly. Melted butter in saucepan (adding splash of olive oil to prevent burning) and popped in onions to begin cook. After 3 mins or so add in chopped garlic (probably ought to be minced but I prefer slightly larger pieces), finely chopped ginger, coriander, mustard powder and crushed chilli seeds. Stir gently until onion is transparent. Then add beef stock and simmer gently.

    I added this to Waitrose Premium Pork Sausages and home-made mashed potatoes and the overall taste was very pleasing. The gravy had a nice bite without being too overpowering and the soft onion tendrils had picked up the flavour of the spices which was a good counterpoint to the meaty sausages and creamy mash.