Bangers and Mash with Caramelized Onions

Story by Holly
Bangers and Mash with Caramelized Onions
Tap any image to pin it.

I’m so excited to finally be sharing the recipe for these bangers and mash with all of you. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been making this dish for St. Patrick's day for many years now, and as with any recipe that’s been recreated year after year, little tweaks along the way have improved it to the point of near perfection. If you’re a stickler for tradition these may not be the bangers and mash for you, but if you’re looking for a delicious and festive dish to share with your friends and family this March 17th, then I’m confident you’ll be a fan.

A simple dish born out of necessity is now a beloved meal...

Bangers and Mash with Caramelized Onions

To get you started here’s a little history lesson for you: according to the term “bangers” supposedly originated in the UK during World War I when “meat shortages resulted in sausages being made with a number of fillers, notably water, that caused them to explode when cooked.” A simple dish born out of necessity is now a beloved meal in the homes and pubs of the Emerald Isle to this day.

A few years back TMP shared a recipe for roasted garlic mashed potatoes , and since then I’ve used that recipe for the potatoes in this dish exclusively. Admittedly, the roasted garlic part of the “mash” isn’t traditional, but I just can’t go back now that I’ve seen the light. As for the “bangers,” feel free to go wild here. Any sausage will do. Traditional English “bangers” can be hard to find at your local market, so I usually opt for a nice mild pork sausage instead. Once the mashed potatoes have been prepared, cook and brown the sausages in a deep pan on the stovetop, and then use all that delicious fond (the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan) as the starting point for a simple gravy. Add some butter, flour, stock, and salt and you’re well on your way. This gravy traditionally has onions in it, as well. But, instead of cooking them in a pan (traditionalists cover your ears) I’ve begun roasting the onions in the oven. Taking the extra step to roast the onions (I used this recipe for my inspiration) provides so much caramelized goodness.

So, there you have it, my darn well near perfect version of bangers and mash. Traditional they are not, but delicious they are. I dare you to give them a try and tell me any differently. Make them to share this St. Patrick’s day and your friend’s and family are sure to feel like the luckiest. (See what I did there?)

Bangers and Mash with Caramelized Onions

Serves 6

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 garlic heads
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 large russet potatoes, peeled and 2"cubed
2 sticks butter
1 cup whole milk
3 bay leaves

Oven Caramelized Onions

2 large red onions, peeled and cut into eight intact wedges
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Sausage & Gravy

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 mild pork sausages
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/4 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the tops off of both heads of garlic. Drizzle the exposed cloves with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast in the oven until garlic is golden brown and tender, 30-40 minutes. Set aside. Keep oven heated for the onions.

Fill a large pot with cold water and add potatoes and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil and continue to simmer until potatoes are very tender, but not falling apart. This usually takes 10-15 minutes.

While your potatoes are boiling, prepare your onions.

Place the onion wedges in a single layer in a foil lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, chili flakes, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Mix up the “dressing” and pour over the onions, stirring gently to coat and carefully keeping the wedges intact. Bake until tender, 35 to 50 minutes, stirring the onions once or twice. Let cool slightly in the baking dish.

Completely drain the potatoes and place it back on the heat. Keep the burner on until the potatoes have completely dried back out about 3 minutes. The dryer the potatoes, the more liquid they will reabsorb. Remove the bay leaves at this time.

Squeeze the heads of garlic until most of the roasted garlic is released into the pot of potatoes. Using a potato ricer (like we did) or potato masher, mash potatoes with garlic until smooth.

In a small saucepan melt butter into the milk until both are hot. Using cold dairy will compromise the texture of the potatoes. Add the milk and butter to the potatoes stirring quickly with a large spoon until fully absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large braiser or frying pan. Add the sausage links to the pan. Cook sausages turning often until no longer pink inside. This step can take up to 25 minutes depending on the size of your sausage. If needed you can deglaze the pan with 1-2 tablespoons of water, but don’t add too much water, because you want to save the caramelized, brown bits that collect on the bottom of the pan for the gravy.

When the sausages are fully cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. Carefully discard any extra oil that may have collected in the pan. Add the butter. As the butter is melting, scrape the brown bits loose from the bottom of the pan. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the flour and sauté for 1 minute before slowly adding the beef stock ¼ cup at a time. Season with salt.

Serve your bangers over a heap of mash, covered in gravy and garnished with caramelized onions.