Personally, I just wanted to eat and run because I knew this was going to be a long, churchy weekend starting with services at sundown Friday and ending after Easter mass with the aforementioned paternal grandma. I would always get 'high holy day-itis' except when it was time to eat. My age was in the single digits, so the old arguments over what religion to raise the children under had been over for a while (but still simmered enough for snide remarks when ham was served).
It also didn't help that I seemed to have a strange allergic reaction to pork, which was a telltale sign of what I ate when left over at Nana's babysitting service. Me scratching and vomiting after returning home was just the tip off needed for that lovely mother-in-law/daughter-in-law tug of war. Ah, memories.
Which brings us to the present. Nana has been gone for over forty years, so I never had to fake that body and blood of you-know-who again. I stopped attending church when I was 16 and never looked back . . . except for holy days and grub - and the people.
I always loved Passover. Maybe because it was my mother's favorite holiday. I suppose it was fitting that she died on the day before Passover eleven years ago. Since then, March has been an invisible month for me. Largely ignored because my father also died in the month of ides, on St. Patrick's Day. What was it with my parents and holidays anyway?
I've had my issues with it and just chose to wait March out by skiing the month away to avoid the depressing thoughts. So much so, that a colleague suggested a few years back that perhaps it would make me feel better if I just lit a candle for mom at the beginning of the Sabbath. I thought she was insane, but I tried it and it worked - sort of. I could at least admit that Passover still existed without reaching for a Prozac cocktail.
So what to do? Well, you know me . . . I'm gonna eat! So in honor of all of those I loved during those wonderful holidays, I'll have a sip of the infused vodka/lime basil apertif I made last year as a belated St. Paddy's day nod and I'm going to lamb it up with a quicky paleo-friendly dish that may or may not be kosher, but it will be lamb-i-fied.
Glasbern Inn, an excellent country inn not far from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I also had the last of my Clagett Farm sweet potatoes. Hence, Nouveau Bangers and Mash was born. This took an hour to make and the sausage was out of this world. Of course, you can use any sausage you choose, but the seasonings made the dish. I think there was a hint of nutmeg - oh, so gorgeous.
I love this brown, then bake method. The onions are perfectly caramelized. Normally, bangers and mash have a gravy. I did not make one even though the scrapings off of this pan were so flavorful. I just needed it to be a gluten be gone day. I thought about bringing out the arrowroot for a quick sauce, but that seemed like it was going to be such a 'thing'. Too complicated.
Nouveau Holiday Bangers and Mash
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Use a medium sized cast iron pan or any pan with a handle that can be placed in the oven. Serves 4.
1.5 pounds of Lamb Sausage (or any alleged said sausage or near sausage or never sausage of your choice)
1 large onion, sliced
2 large Sweet Potatoes, washed
1.5 Tablespoons Olive or Avocado oil
Pumpkin Spice (Substitute with a little ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cups raw spinach or other raw greens.
Optional: 1 Tablespoon unsalted Butter
- Brown sausage on both sides in cast iron pan with olive or avocado oil,
- Add sliced onion, cook for 1 minute
- Season with crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cover the pan with a lid or foil and place into the oven.
- Take a few drops of olive oil and rub across the entire potato skins
- Place the sweet potatoes on the rack in the oven.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Mash potatoes to your ideal 'lump to smooth' ratio (I'm a lumpy lover)
- Season with a few shakes of Tumeric and Pumpkin spice.
- Optional: mash in the unsalted Butter
- Serve the sausage and sweet potatoes on a bed of raw spinach.
Easy, right? One pan, no mixing, easy ingredients and fast. You can shove this in the oven and then rush to waste an hour playing Tribal Wars or catching up one back episodes of Jane the Virgin or Gotham (just saying).
The pumpkin spice was a combination recipe of my own, but you can find it premade anywhere. Check your local farmers markets for purveyors of lamb sausage. By the way, I slipped in the tumeric because I'm in full 'Food As Medicine' mode and I'm all about integrating good, useful stuff into everyday meals.
So, I lit a candle for Connie, then had my nontraditional traditional holiday meal. My way - the bitter herb was the watermelon radish I pickled last fall.
And yeah, I took a sip from Elijah's cup too. Dude never shows and who wants to waste good liquor?