Since eliminating meat from my diet, I have expanded my culinary horizons and seized the opportunity to try new ingredients and preparations. I have said before that vegetarianism has opened more doors for me than it has closed. However, I did not stop eating meat because I didn’t like meat. I really enjoyed meat on occasion, and some dishes have been hard to replace. For that reason, I have tried to recreate some of my favorite meat dishes using meatless ingredients. There have been successes and failures, but the thrill of the adventure is worth the bumpy ride.
Last night I attempted a recreation of bangers and mash, the traditional English dish made of sausage and mashed potatoes. This one was a success. I do not know if meat-eaters would be fooled, but for this pair of vegetarians, my rendition definitely satisfied the craving. And that is what it is all about. The vegan sausages with their pepperiness and bits of sundried tomato offered a hearty complement to the creamy mashed Yukon golds. Paired with a side of roasted brussels sprouts, this meal felt more winter than fall. However with the chilly rainy weather we have had for the last week, it really hit the spot.
I know I have ignored two of the cardinal rules of food photography: don’t photograph brown food and expect it to look appetizing, and always use natural light. But the thing is, gravy is brown. And so are sausages. And I still think they look really freaking appetizing. But maybe you had to be there. Also, it was cold and dark outside so artificial light was all I had. Really, this dish wouldn’t work so well on a bright sunny day so give me the benefit of the doubt and use your imagination. This truly was a hearty and delicious dish.
Veggie Bangers and Mash (serves 4)
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes
One package Tofurky Italian sausages (4 links)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Place in a large pot, cover with water, and boil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
2. Slice the sausages into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausages when hot and cook until browned.
3. Cut the onion into thin slices. When the sausages are browned, remove them from the pan to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent.
4. When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them in a colander and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes, adding milk and butter until you reach teh desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
5. Add the flour to the onions and stire to coat. Cook for about one minute, then add the vegetable broth to the pan. Whisk in the mustard. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until this reduces to a gravy-like consistency.
6. Return the sausages to the gravy pan and stir to coat. Cook until warmed throughout.
7. Serve the sausages over the mashed potatoes.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (serves 4)
1 lb brussels sprouts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and trim the brussels sprouts. Remove the stems.
3. Combine the brussels sprouts with the desired amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
4. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until the leaves are brown and crispy, while the centers are still soft and green.