Bangers & Rutabaga Mash Fail

Okay, let’s just get it out for the 12-year-old in each of us, shall we? Banger? I just met her! Phew! Glad that’s done. You know, since I’m so mature and not at all prone to calling innuendo when I see it, I’m sure there will be absolutely nothing else to giggle at when talking about sausages and making texturally odd, runny brown sauce.

So every year (well, in the 2 that we’ve participated), the CSA sends us at least 1 rutabaga. Rutabaga befuddles me, and frankly, I still haven’t found a way to make this that makes me jump for joy and salivate other than for the sole reason of getting to say such a funny word. It’s that turnip taste. It’s just not for me.

So I tried to approach this year’s rutabaga with an open mind. I thought that maybe mashing it with lots of butter and cream could be the ticket to getting me to dig the rutabaga (tee-hee! ahem, mature adult throat clear.) And since “English Banger Sausages” were on sale at Amazon Fresh that week, I thought that this was confirmation that mashed rutabaga was the way to go. But how to put my own twist on it? Oh say– looky here! Purple potatoes were in the CSA box that week too and unlike me who thinks the best way to eat those yummy starchy potatoes is roasted, John likes them best in a psychedelic colored mash. So why not mash the rutabaga with the purple potatoes? Ummm…. here’s why not:

Here is a lesson in comedic disaster, and perhaps further justification for why whenever I cook for the first time for a new person I preface the act by explaining that I try to cook recipe-free and therefore can be a bit hit or miss. I suppose that picture doesn’t look too bad thanks to John’s taking over when I gave up in hysterical frustration. My big mistake was that I peeled the purple potatoes. I thought that for bangers and mash, I needed to have really good, smooth, buttery mash and not the more rustic, chunky skin intact smash. But the problem is that without the skin, purple potatoes practically dissolve in the boiling process and turn a sad gray with a bluish hue.

I noticed something was wrong when about 10 minutes into the boil, all I saw were rutabaga chunks floating near the top. When I tried stirring the pot to look for potato chunks, the wooden spoon met no resistance at all. I lifted the spoon and saw nothing but potato dust. Worried that the potato would wither away to nothing, I drained these suckers after another 5 minutes which meant that the rutabaga did not boil long enough to be good and mashable. This was when I decided I should just step away from the disaster and focus on the sausages and their gravy. John took over, running the vegetables through a food processor  and adding the cream, butter, and whole grain mustard I’d suggested. The only result possible (not one of final cook’s error– I take responsibility for the sad aspect) was an overworked, soupy mash that can only be described as puce in color. Thank Jeebus it still tasted pretty good– something I totally credit John with.

I tried to work on plating, but with the soupy mash, I couldn’t get height on the plate. Then adding brown gravy to log shaped pieces on top of puce colored soup, well, there really is no way to polish that turd when it looks so much like its euphemism. Hence, the ring of steamed broccoli– a desperate attempt at having some distracting but pretty color on the plate. So go ahead– have a good giggle. Lord knows I still do when I look at this epic fail.

  • 1 lb Banger sausages (or since I’m reading about sausages in Ratio right now, I’m thinking these are essentially boudin blanc sausages)
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 lbs purple potatoes (but don’t peel these!), cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper

In a medium skillet, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, about 1/2 tbsp. Place the sausages on top of the oil and add enough water to the skillet to cover the bottom. Cook over medium high heat with the pan covered for about 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook over medium heat until the water evaporates, piercing the sausages to release some of the fat and turning them every now and then to ensure even browning. Remove the sausages from the pan. Add a little more olive oil if necessary and the tbsp of butter so you have about 3 tbsp of fat, total left in the pan. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is softened. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and cook for another minute then add the chicken stock. With a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned sausage bits and continue stirring until you have a thickened gravy. Season with salt and pepper and add the sausages back into the gravy. Keep on low heat until your mash is ready.

While all of this has been going on, put the potato and rutabaga in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and salt generously. While boiling, heat the cream with the butter and a garlic clove over medium heat. Hopefully you won’t have a powdery mess like I did and you can actually drain and mash those suckers when the vegetables are fork tender. Mash, adding the cream mixture in batches to avoid the soupy, over worked texture that we had. Stir in the whole grain mustard when your mash has reached the right texture. On your plates, pile up the mash in the center and top with the sausages, split lengthwise and spoonfuls o’ gravy.

CSA Count: 3

Rutabaga, purple potatoes, garlic


4 thoughts on “Bangers & Rutabaga Mash Fail

    • CJW says:

      I still use recipes from time to time, especially when I’m looking for ideas or when I want to do something that I haven’t tried before and need guidance. Thanks for the recipe! Speaking of roasted veggies, there’s a roasted carrot and avocado salad that I think you’d love. You roast large chunks of carrots (preferrably of different colors) in some olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Toss the warm carrots with large chunks of ripe avocado and squeeze lemon juice over all of that. Super yummy and sooooo pretty!

  1. Sarah says:

    Yum. I will try that. I love roasting veggetables–it has even made a parsnip lover of me. Over here they roast a lot of them for the classic Sunday roast. Apparently the secret to amazing crispy roasted veggies is to parboil and then shake the covered pot (holding the lid on of course) so the edges get ‘fluffy’ for lack of a better word, then roasted with oil, drippings or butter. Yum.

    I’m also going to try the roasted caper pasta salad this week.

    • CJW says:

      Thanks for the tip! I recently tried the boil and shake method with potatoes (blog post on Chocolate and Zucchini about that so apparently the French use it too!) so good to know that works with other vegetables too. Now I definitely know what I’m doing with those parsnips and rutabaga from the CSA this year. 🙂

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