I wanted to do this — or something similar — on Friday evening but was invited to a friend’s who cooked a stew instead.

Now. I have to be honest and say that this didn’t go exactly to plan as I discovered that my flour had been colonised by little things, despite being stored in a hermetic container, and it’s a Sunday, which means no shops.

For example, the potato cakes were supposed to have flour in them — according to the recipe my mother gave me — but I ended up using egg to bind them instead. The gravy was not quite as expected because I used crème fraîche to thicken it instead of adding flour to the meat juices to make a tasty roux-type thing.

Nonetheless, this is what I made.

For the potato cakes, you will need:

  • 200g potatoes
  • A third of a large onion, finely chopped
  • One egg
  • Parsley, coriander

Chop the parsley and/or coriander finely. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked, and then mash them with the back of a fork or pass them through a moulin à légumes. In a bowl, add some butter and seasoning and mix the potato with a wooden spoon, adding the finely chopped onions and the egg and finally the herbs.

My mother’s recipe called for flour and some milk, but the Interwebs is your friend. This worked, and I have added flour to my shopping list.

For the gravy, you will need:

  • A pint of Guinness
  • The remaining onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • Parsley, coriander
  • A tablespoon of crème fraîche

I would normally have used the sausage/meat juices and some of the potato water with flour to make the basis of the sauce, but the flour situation didn’t allow it.

Instead, gently fry the finely-chopped onions in butter in a saucepan until they are starting to soften and the ensemble is starting to thicken. Add the mushrooms, herbs and seasoning, and leave to simmer gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook the meat (I had a fried sausage) and when it is nearing completion, add the onions and mushrooms. Finish cooking the meat then remove it and keep it warm on a plate.

Increase the heat under the onions and mushrooms and pour in enough Guinness to be able to stir round the pan, getting up any nice flavoursome bits that might’ve stuck. Allow this to reduce a little, then add a tablespoon of crème fraîche. Season, stir and reduce. Add more Guinness (to frying pan or chef) as necessary.

I haven’t done all the adding up but I think the most expensive part of this was the Guinness, which is 1,76€ for a half-litre can. I would probably use the bottled stout over canned draught if it were sold here. The sausages were 3,50€ for about 400g. I have two sausages and some potato mixture left.

The Guinness appears to have evaporated.

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