Sunday, November 14, 2021

British Sausage Rolls

Sizzlin' Goodness

Recipe by Robin and Bruce

One thing I’ll say for the Pandemic, it’s given us virtual ways to show up and do just about anything. Still, 18 months into it, the Black Hat Virtual Tea Party, created by my friend Rox, was a new one on me. Participants each brewed favorite teas and made or otherwise obtained some favorite tea-friendly foods. Menu-wise, the second thing that came into my mind (after scones) was the delicious sausage rolls we’d bought in early morning from London street vendors. Warm, juicy, and fragrant, the delicate puff pastry surrounding hearty sausages sustained us till mid afternoon. So, I thought, why not serve mini sausage rolls as a savory component for tea?

A Hearty Addition to Tea Snacks
Because Bruce had excellent results making Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage, he was our designated British sausage-maker. He used the traditional ground pork, plus standard Brit seasoning: onion and sage, and a small bit of thyme and nutmeg. We eliminated the traditional breadcrumbs, since (to us Californians) the starchy component of typical Brit sausages obscures the meaty flavors. I used premade puff pastry, to save work and because Trader Joe’s puff pastry is the perfect size (8 inches x 10 inches) for sausage rolls. No rolling out dough or fussing needed!

Puff pastry is friendly as long as it’s chilled before handling. If frozen, put it into fridge to defrost the night before. Keep the pastry cold until you need it. To roll up the sausage rolls evenly, without stretching the pastry in a bad way, don’t skip this step: After forming the sausage on top of the pastry strips, return pastry strips with sausage to the fridge for 10 – 20 minutes before rolling. This means making room for a baking sheet or two, but the payoffs are easier and more even rolling, better looking rolls, and flakier pastry texture.

If your puff pastry is a different shape or size than 8 inches x 10 inches, cut it into pieces about 4 inches by whatever length you have up to 10 inches. As long as you divide the sausage into the same number of pieces as the number of pastry sheets, you’re good. Keep in mind that you’ll be cutting the rolls into smaller pieces, and this whole project is forgiving if you chill the pastry right.

Cheers, Pip-pip, and Enjoy!

Three sausage rolls on plate with parsley
Frozen and Reheated Leftovers
Sausage Rolls
makes about 36 (1-inch) rolls

  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 18 oz. package of puff pastry
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. bulk pork sausage
  • 1½ tsp. crushed sage leaves
  • 1 pinch thyme leaves
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour for rolling pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

If puff pastry is frozen, remove from freezer the night before. Defrost in the refrigerator.

Heat oil over medium heat in small skillet. Add finely chopped onion and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool.

Meanwhile mix together sage, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper in a cup. Break up bulk sausage with wooden spoon in a medium mixing bowl, sprinkle in spices and combine till uniform. When onion is cool, stir into meat mix. Refrigerate.

Fit two baking sheets (I used rimmed) with baking parchment. Prepare a lightly floured surface for handling the pastry.

Open puff pastry and carefully unfold sheets onto floured surface. Roll each, if needed, to approximately 8 inches x 10 inches. Cut each sheet in half lengthwise, to about 4 inches x 10 inches. Lift onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Divide sausage into 4 equal parts, one for each pastry rectangle. Roll small handfuls into tube shapes and line up lengthwise along the middle of each puff pastry rectangle, leaving about ½ inch gap at each end. Even out by pinching and smoothing sausage as needed.

Let pastry rest in the refrigerator for 10 – 20 minutes. This makes the pastry much easier to roll without stretching unevenly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove rolls from refrigerator and brush long edges with beaten egg. Starting at one long edge, roll pastry over the meat and over egg-washed edge, forming a cylinder. Reposition if needed so seam side is down. Repeat for other rolls.

Cut rolls into 1-inch pieces, or whatever size you prefer. (I use a small serrated knife.) If longer than 2 inches, cut a slit or two in each top. Brush each piece with egg wash.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack for about 15 minutes before serving.

Freeze leftovers in double plastic bags and reheat on defrost cycle in microwave.

4 Dough Rectangles Being Rolled out
Shaped Pastry for Sausage Rolls
Sausage on Pastry Before Rolling
Adding Sausage and Egg Wash for Sealing
Two Long Sausage Rolls
Rolling and Sealing Sausage Rolls
Two Long Sausage Rolls, One cut into Pieces
Cutting Rolls into Pieces
Sausage Rolls Cut into Pieces for Baking
Adding Egg Wash, Ready for Baking
Sausage Rolls Cooling After Baking
Cooling After Baking

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