Bonfire Night bangers


Photograph: Joe Woodhouse
As we brace ourselves for fireworks, sparklers and bonfires, our Head Chef Stewart Turner provides his decadent take on “bangers and mash” for a Bonfire Night feast, while we suggest some suitably bold reds to drink alongside this indulgent dish

As the son of an army officer I grew up on a lot of army bases all over Europe, and one of my lasting memories is what a great party they put on for Bonfire Night. The bonfires would be spectacular affairs and the mess would produce great platters of food – sausage baps with fried onions and barbecue sauce being a particular favourite. Recently it seems that Bonfire Night has had an Halloween-style American makeover and it’s all toffee apples and s’mores.

This play on bangers and mash is a bit more sophisticated than the sausage baps from my childhood and, I think, cracking for a Bonfire Night party, being rich and warming for a pre or post bonfire supper, or even a decadent midweek supper. The dish incorporates a couple of my favourite ingredients – one underrated and the other highly prized. A well-made sausage can be a thing of beauty, and the mighty Vacherin Mont d’Or must be one of the greatest seasonal cheeses.

This is a recipe that I inherited when I took over as Head Chef at Berry Bros. & Rudd; we served these lovely spiced, devilled sausages as a canapé and they were always a real hit. It’s a recipe that we still use today.

Devilled sausages with Vacherin creamed potatoesServes 4
  • 8-12 good-quality Cumberland sausages
  • 50g honey
  • 2tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tsp hot chilli sauce
  • 2tbsp chopped chives
  • 750g potatoes, preferably king Edwards – peeled and cut into large, even-sized chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 100ml cream
  • 100g butter – diced
  • 100g Vacherin Mont d’Or – rind removed and diced
  • 50ml whole milk

Rinse the potatoes well then put in a pan, cover with cold water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Don’t boil too rapidly or overcook as the potatoes with break up and absorb too much water.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grill the sausages until they are almost cooked (you can also roast them in the oven if you like). Drain the sausages well on kitchen paper, then tip them into a clean roasting tin. Mix the honey, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and chilli sauce, pour over the sausages and mix well so they are thoroughly coated. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times, until the glaze starts to caramelise, and the sausages are sticky. Finish with the chopped chives and keep warm.

Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan over a low heat and allow to dry out. Pass them through a potato ricer or sieve (just mashing with a masher will not produce a fine enough purée). Place the potato purée back in the pan, again over a low heat. In another pan, bring the cream and milk to the boil. Using a spatula, beat the cream and milk mix into the purée, then add the diced butter. Finish by mixing in the diced Vacherin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the creamed potatoes with the glazed sausages and some buttered kale.

What to drink: If it were just Vacherin on the table, we’d instantly suggest some Savagnin or Jura Chardonnay – butwith the sausages and their devilish coating in the mix, we need something bold and red. Head to the Northern Rhône for something with enough acidity to cut through the mash, and enough fruit to balance the sweet-savoury marinade – this St Joseph from Coursodon would do nicely. You could also head to the Languedoc-Roussillon: Gauby’s Vieilles Vignes cuvée – a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah – will be savoury, hearty and fresh enough to work here; while Mas de Daumas Gassac’s Cabernet-led blend, with all its herbal, spicy notes would make a fine match.