Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irish Bangers and Whiskey


These Irish sausages are a fun and simple option as an appetizer for your St. Patrick's Day Party. I recommend using some Irish Whiskey, but whatever you have on hand will work great. Throw the ingredients together and walk away while they cook in the sweet whiskey sauce. Broil to make them crispy, transport in the Crock Pot, then serve them with toothpicks.

While I waited for the sausages to cook, I picked out my outfit for our couple's St. Patrick's Day Party. Unfortunately, I don't have any fun t-shirts that say things like "Luck O' the Irish," or my personal favorite, "Patrick was a Saint, I ain't." But my family used to go all out for St. Patrick's Day. We have a direct Irish heritage on my Dad's side. Even my little brother's name is Patrick. And Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the place to be on St. Paddy's Day.

I've had some serious adventures on St. Patrick's Day in Pittsburgh. I went to a women's private college called Carlow University--it was founded by Irish nuns. They have a sister university in Carlow, Ireland. I was on the dance team, and one year the student activities director asked if we would learn an Irish step dance routine and perform in the city parade. Of course we said yes, since it sounded like a fun opportunity.

Learning Irish step dancing was really fun, but the parade was a total misadventure. First, we almost missed it, because trying to get a bus to the parade route was impossible. Public buses of college students passed us by because they were so full. We were just standing on the side of the road, a group of young college girls in our green Carlow hoodies, all done up for a performance. Eventually, a party bus decked out in St. Patrick's Day decorations and flashing lights saw us waiting and picked us up. Whoever was running the bus took us to the parade route with no charge, blasting crazy music the whole way there. That was pretty awesome.

Then the parade started and we danced our routine for a few miles in icy cold, slushy Pittsburgh weather, right in front of the truck transporting Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog. I remember my tennis shoes and socks being completely soaked through. My black pants were wet all the way up to my knees. We were cold and miserable, and to top it all off, the drunk college guys threw green beads at us yelling "Dance! Dance!" I vowed to never do that again, but it was one of those experiences you just can't make up, filled with memories I'll never forget.

I was able to save my shoes, but I haven't been to a parade since. I hope you have a positive St. Patrick's Day experience filled with green drinks and lots of luck. Enjoy this Irish Banger recipe along with my recipe for Roasted Potato Wedges. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ingredients:

2 lb. Irish Bangers (16 links), separated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup whiskey
1/2 packed brown sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top

Directions:

1. Sear the sausages in a skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes).

2. Let sit for five-ten minutes to cool down for cutting.

3. Cut sausages into 1/2 inch slices, perfect bite size pieces for appetizers. Add sausages to the Crock Pot and turn on low setting.

4. Mix together 1/2 cup whiskey with 1/2 cup packed brown sugar until blended but not dissolved. Pour mixture over sausage pieces in the Crock Pot and stir to coat. Slow cook for three to four hours.

5. You can serve them like this, or, to make them crispy, broil them. Turn off Crock Pot. With a slotted spoon, place sausages in a broiling pan, sprinkle with brown sugar, and broil for three minutes. Pour the excess liquid from the Crock Pot into a measuring cup. Add 1/8 cup of the whiskey liquid back into the Crock Pot and discard the rest.

6. Once sausages are browned, add them back to the Crock Pot with the small amount of liquid to stay warm. Transport them to the party and turn the Crock Pot on low to keep warm for guests. Serve with toothpicks.