Monday, March 14, 2016

54. Bangers and Mash Tacos for St. Patrick's Day!

Bangers and Mash Tacos for St. Patrick's Day Collage

It's almost St. Patrick's Day, so I figured I'd try to get into the spirit of things with this latest recipe!  During my last visit to Trader Joe's (about a week ago), I found these Irish bangers.  Hmmm.  I didn't really have a plan for them, but I impulsively threw them in the basket.

Trader Joe's Irish Bangers for Bangers and Mash Tacos

What's rusk?  Well, to make a long story short, it's basically bread crumbs.  Filler.  A common and necessary part of sausage-making.  According to the wisdom of the internet, 5% is pretty good.  You don't want sausage with 25% rusk.

Anyway, I had high hopes for these!  I just didn't know what to do with them!

Bangers and mash is an obvious choice, right?  I could just make that and call it good.  I need taco recipes, though . . . 100 in a year, remember?  Could I make a bangers and mash taco?

The answer is yes.  You can make a taco out of anything.  Ask me how I know this.  Ha ha.

I decided to incorporate the potatoes into the shell.  I didn't want to just throw some mashed potatoes into a tortilla.  I don't know - it just didn't sound appealing in this situation.

I did make some potato pancake shells for recipe number three (and they were delicious).  However, those were definitely more of a pancake.  I wanted these to be very potato-forward.  I decided to up the potato content and leave them slightly lumpy.

A salad topping (such as lettuce or raw cabbage) just didn't seem in order this time around.  I decided to steam some sliced cabbage and then toss it with some bacon and a splash of cider vinegar.  Because . . . well.  We don't really need a reason.  Bacon improves just about everything!

Anyway, here's a taco for your next St. Patrick's Day celebration!  Because everyone likes tacos on St. Paddy's day.  O.o

Here's what I came up with:

Bangers and Mash Tacos for St. Patrick's Day!

Makes 8 generous tacos (4 servings)


For the mashed potato cakes:

2 medium russet potatoes, (mine were about 14 oz.) peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the cabbage and bacon:

One half green cabbage, cut into four pieces and then sliced

Cabbage and Potatoes for Bangers and Mash Tacos

3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the sausage and onion filling:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Irish bangers

Bangers and Sliced Onions for Bangers and Mash Tacos
I tried to slice the sausage before I cooked it.  Yeah.  I haven't worked much with raw sausage in a casing before.  Don't do that.  Leave it alone and cook them whole.  THEN cut them.  :)  Trust me.  Fortunately, I realized it wouldn't work very well after the first cut and I only had to deal with the one halved sausage.
One sweet onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

A few ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese (preferably Irish)

Whole grain mustard (or another mustard)

Mustard Assortment for Bangers and Mash Tacos


1.  Start the cabbage:  Place the sliced cabbage in a steamer basket.

Cabbage in Steamer Basket for Bangers and Mash Tacos

Set over an inch or two of boiling water, cover, and steam until tender but still al dente.  Mine took about 12 minutes.  Uncover and set aside.

2. Start the potatoes:  Place the potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

3.  Start the sausage mixture:  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausages and cook until browned on all sides and mostly done.  (They'll be cooked again, so if they are not completely done, that's OK.)  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Set aside.  Add the onions and salt to the pan and cook over medium low heat until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, slice the cooked sausage lengthwise and then into small pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  When the onions are lightly caramelized, add the sliced sausage and allow to cook for a few more minutes.  Season to taste with pepper.  Set aside and keep warm.

Sausage and Onion Mixture for Bangers and Mash Tacos

4.  While you are cooking the sausage mixture, finish the cabbage.  Place the diced bacon in a medium skillet.  Turn the heat to low and gently cook the bacon until it is crisp and the fat has rendered out of it.  Mine took about 15 minutes.

Diced Crisp Bacon for Bangers and Mash Tacos

When the bacon is ready, add the cabbage, salt, pepper, and cider vinegar.  (Don't drain the bacon grease, unless you want to, or unless there is a lot of it!)  Toss and continue to cook for a few minutes so that the cabbage is heated.  Add the parsley and stir to combine.  Set aside and keep warm.

Cabbage and Bacon Mixture for Bangers and Mash Tacos
Oops.  I took this picture before I added the parsley!
5. Make the potato cakes.  Place the cooked potatoes in a medium bowl.  Mash with a potato masher.  Add the butter and allow it to melt.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir until the mixture is combined.  (It will be dry.)  Add the egg and stir with a wooden spoon.  Add the milk and stir again until the mixture is smooth but a bit lumpy.  It should be the consistency of runny mashed potatoes - or thick pancake batter.  Stir in the parsley.

Mashed Potato Cake Batter for Bangers and Mash Tacos

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.  Cook the pancakes, 3 at a time, using about 1/4 cup of the batter for each one.

Mashed Potato Cake for Bangers and Mash Tacos

When the top is mostly set and the bottom is lightly golden, flip and cook the other side.  Do not attempt to flip until the top is set!  They have a tendency to stick at first, so be patient!

Mashed Potato Cake for Bangers and Mash Tacos

As the pancakes are finished, stack them on a sheet of foil.  When they are all done, carefully wrap them up and keep warm in a 250 degree oven (if you wish).

6.  When all of the components are ready, assemble the tacos.  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  Sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheddar.  Top with some of the sausage and onion mixture.  Add some of the cabbage and bacon.  Finish the tacos with a mustard of your choice and enjoy!  :)

Bangers and Mash Tacos for St. Patrick's Day

So, that's it!  We thought these worked out pretty well!  Steve's first comment was, "It's good."  His second comment was, "It doesn't taste like a taco."

Well, I have to agree with him there.  That's OK, though.  According to my self-imposed guidelines for this project, it doesn't have to taste like a taco.  It has to have the right shape, and you have to be able to pick it up.

You can pick this up.  The question is, should you?  If there was one thing I would change, it might be the lumpy factor of the shell.  I love lumpy mashed potatoes (and these really did seem like mashed potato cakes), but the lumps did make the shell just a bit more fragile.  It worked, but a fork might have been easier.  If I had used a hand mixer or something to blend the potato a bit more, it would have been easier to handle.

Bangers and Mash Tacos and Guinness for St. Patrick's Day

It all worked out, though.  We enjoyed them, even though I realize this is a strange, strange thing I have created.

If there is anyone from Ireland reading this blog and thinking I have lost my mind, well . . . I'm not going to argue that.  That is another issue entirely.  Anyway - trust me, this all comes from a place of love!  I have fond memories of Ireland (and Irish food) from our much-too-short visit a couple of years ago.  If you want to take some stereotypically American dish and make some strange Irish cuisine mashup out of it, I will support you.  I'd love to taste it!  Ha ha.

By the way if any of you are lucky enough to have a day off on St. Patrick's Day, try these brunch tacos:

 Apple Tacos with Bailey's-Sweet Potato Pancake Shells, Fresh Blackberry Sauce, and Whipped Cream

I made them a while ago, but I think they'd be perfect for St. Patrick's Day, especially with a couple of Irish coffees!  :)

I think I have one more St. Patrick's Day inspired recipe floating around in my brain that I have to try!  I have an idea for Black and Tan Dessert Tacos.  Don't laugh.  I think they'll be delicious!  I'm planning on creating, making, and posting them tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Please feel free to comment!  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

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