I’ve been thinking about travel recently. Specifically, how I say I want to but somehow I seem to just stay put. Granted, I’m just a stone’s throw away from being a modern day hermit.
Personally, I love the sound of the word “hermitage,” which is a hermit’s dwelling/residence/hideaway. Some may think creepy, and yet I think, “Hmm, cozy.”
Moving on from hermit talk, lets go back to travel. I’ve been streaming British TV from YouTube for the past few weeks now, and I really want to see Sarah Millican on her tour. Millican is a stand up comic and she’s brilliant. Naturally, most of her upcoming appearances are sold out.
See Sarah in action:
Millican is also a frequent and fun Twitter-er. Follow her at @sarahmillican75.
To get more in the mood for travel, which will happen at some point in 2012, I thought I’d make a very British dish: Bangers and Mash.
In all seriousness, onions are probably my favorite vegetable. Any recipe that starts with “chop an onion” will, generally, turn out just fine.
I am a big fan of gravy, but as I was making this dish I realized I don’t have gravy all that often. It is featured prominently during holiday dinners, but other than that I don’t make gravy, which is something that must be changed.
Now I’m not going to tell you how to make mashed potatoes or cook sausage. I’m figuring most everyone knows how to mash potatoes. But gravy is a different beast.
To be perfectly honest, this was not my best gravy. I sliced the onions into half-moons instead of dicing them, which made making the roux difficult. The gravy was a tad gluey and hard to whisk due to the stringy onions. Since I was also just making one serving of mash and cooking one sausage, I probably made too much gravy, but it was fine reheated and spread like onion jam on toast the next evening.
The following recipe is an imprecise and likely flawed onion gravy. I’ll have to make this a few more times and update with a better version, but this served me well when I wanted a taste of England without the cost of airfare.
Beer and Onion Gravy, recipe (or rather formula) by EMLundblad
Ingredients, makes about 1 1/2 cups gravy
1/2 large yellow or white onion sliced (probably better to dice it)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. AP flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup beer, I used Yuengling (please don’t use a light beer)
water, amount based on desired consistency (I used about 1 cup)
salt and black pepper to taste
1. In 10-inch skillet melt the butter over medium heat and add onions. Cook and caramelize onions for about 30 minutes, lowering temperature if onions are frying rather than caramelizing. You want color here, but not burning. The more the onions caramelize, the richer the gravy.
2. Once the onions are done add the flour. If you need to add more butter to balance the fat with the flour do so. Cook for about 10 minutes, to get rid of the flour taste and deepen the roux. To make it easier to whisk you may want to remove the onions before adding the flour. Again, I’m still playing around with this.
3. When the roux is ready, like a thick gravy or a loose paste, add the beer and whisk. If you really like a thick gravy you don’t have to add the water, but I think it needs the water to thin it out and to lighten the flavor. I love Yuengling, but has an almost sweet finish – at least in my opinion. It pairs wonderfully with the caramelized onions, but it can be a little sweet as a savory gravy. Without the water I found it a little overpowering.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the bangers and mash or really anything. Like I said, this made too much for one. But ate the left over gravy at two more meals, reheated and spread like onion jam over toast and as a sauce for green beans.