Bangers & Mash with Onion Gravy

Great St. Patty's day feast

Note from Chef Ed:

Rusk is basically bread. Specifically a wheat product used in the stuffing of sausage to help the meat go farther. More rusk, more sausage. It was good and cheap for peasants. Rusk has the tendency to expand while cooking, causing the casing to pop very suddenly, creating a banging sound, hence ‘bangers.’ To avoid this you should pierce each sausage with a fork several times to let the juices escape a little and keep the sausage from splitting (this is not a good practice for sausages without rusk. The rusk soaks up the juices of the meat, keeping the sausage moist, where piercing a regular sausage would dry it out.)

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, wax or parchment paper.
  2. Just like making a Jack-O-Lantern, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to stuff it. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, then season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Make the stuffing by tossing the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, pears, walnuts herbs, and other dry ingredients together.
  4. Fill the pumpkins with this stuffing and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled.
  5. Stir the cream with the nutmeg together and pour it over the stuffing in each pumpkin. Adjust the level of cream to taste. Should get all the stuffing wet, but not make it swimming in cream either. (As Dorie states, it’s hard to go wrong here.)
  6. Put the cap in place, place the filled pumpkins on the baking sheet and bake the pumpkin for 70 minutes. Then remove the cap and continue roasting for 20 more minutes (90 minutes total) or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.
  7. When the pumpkins are ready, carefully transfer them to each plate. Guests may choose to eat from the center of the pumpkin or take large slices out of the roasted pumpkin. It is all edible.