Sausages with Guinness Gravy and Colcannon

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"Aye laddie, is there a heartier meal in all the land?"  So said a fellow traveler at the inn tucked into a hollow off a rural road in County Cork.  We dined and then danced into the wee hours, fueled by Guinness and this delicious dish lovingly prepared by Molly, the sharp-tongued yet gracious innkeeper ....OK, that didn't really happen.  But it felt like it did after we ate this meal.

Irish bangers and mash-- this is classic pub fare of the Emerald Isle.  And hearty it is when cabbage and onions are cooked with the potatoes for that Irish classic, colcannon.  Some colcannon recipes call for bacon or ham, but I like to keep it all about the veggies and tubers and let the meat stand on its own.  And in this dish it does. The sausages (Chicago readers-- I use Winston's family market brand) are cooked first, then bathed in the velvety Guinness gravy that puts it over the top.  When accompanied by colcannon, you have a meal that will fortify anyone in need of sustenance to make it through the more "liony" parts of March.  Forget putting hair on your chest.  This meal will make even the most metrosexual man in your life want to shear a sheep and take up hurling (an Irish sport that sounds awesome, look it up).
Printable Recipe

Sausages with Guinness Gravy and Colcannon
serves 6

For the Colcannon
2 pounds Yukon gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 small head green cabbage (about 1-pound), cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Sausages
12 Irish sausages
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons beef stock
3/4 cup Guinness
1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon red currant jelly
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Colcannon
Place the potatoes and cabbage in a large pot and cover with 1-inch of cold water.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt to the water.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until potatoes break apart when a paring knife is inserted, about 18-20 minutes.

For the Sausages and Gravy
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the sausages and gravy.  Melt the butter over medium low heat in a large skillet.  Add the sausages and cook, turning frequently until golden all over and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the sausages and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat.  Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring rapidly, for 1 minute.  Add the stock, Guinness, tomato paste, jelly, and brown sugar and bring to a boil, whisking to blend.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes until you have a rich, textured gravy.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the sausages and keep warm while you finish the potatoes.

Drain potatoes and cabbage and return to the pot.   Over low heat mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Mix in the milk, butter, and scallions.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon a nest of colcannon into the center of each plate.  Nestle the sausages into the colcannon and spoon the gravy on top.  Enjoy!

Source: Colcannon adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997, Sausages and Gravy adapted from Guinness, by Paul Hartley


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