I thought I would start this post with the end result:
I was really pleased with the way the sausage rolls turned out. Now to the story.
It began as any ordinary Saturday afternoon. After making my latest Rochelle Adonis nougat purchase and enjoying a refreshing beverage at Hotel Northbridge [yes, that place where I almost sang karaoke in November], M and I headed to Tra Vinh for some soul food of the Vietnamese variety.
I don’t think anyone will be shocked to learn that I consumed yet another bowl of pho tai; M ordered the chicken with crispy egg noodles. Our meals were delicious and absolutely filling so I don’t know possessed us to order the thick shakes. Maybe it was the caffeine already ingested, the warmth of the summer sun, the caprice of the afternoon.
The durian shake was not my selection: I chose the jackfruit version, remembering vaguely that it was in season. Fortunately, this gave us something sweet with which to combat the durian’s kerosene tang. Although the two thick shakes looked very similar side by side, we could tell them apart by the smell, and the staff at the front counter tittered as our grimaces became more pronounced. Why either of us had more than a sip, I don’t know.
I have often seen the durian on “must try” lists for fruit. I am not a fan. If you haven’t tried durian before, it is smelly and apparently prohibited in hotels and on public transport in South-East Asia. It’s supporters will tell you that the eating is worth the stench. I disagree. If anyone can pass on a durian recipe that may change my mind, please do. I promise to give it a go.
Fast forward to later that evening. I was scratching my head about what to make for dinner when a voice piped up with, “How long has it been since you last ate party sausage rolls? I could eat some party sausage rolls right now.” So dinner was decided and, naturally, I refused to bake those premade surprise parcels you find in stores. I made my own from scratch, from ingredients I happened to have lying around.
Recipe #64: Simple sausage rolls. Makes ~20 party-sized sausage rolls, which is just about the right quantity to stuff two hungry people.
This is what I used:
► 2 rashers bacon, diced [don’t remove the fat — you need it for this to work]
► 1 small onion, diced
► 2 cloves garlic, sliced
► ½ stick cinnamon
► 4 cloves
► 3 grinds nutmeg
► ½ tsp mixed peppercorns
► good pinch salt
► 1 tsp coriander seeds
► small handful flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
► 250g beef topside mince
► 2 eggs [1 to bind the filling; 1 for the eggwash]
► 1 quantity shortcrust pastry [check out the link to Damien Pignolet’s recipe under Recipe #38 — then add another heaped dessert-spoon of butter to the mixture. Oh, and you will only use ½-¾ of the pastry]
Start by frying the bacon in a medium-hot pan > you want to release enough fat to saute the onion and garlic. Once fat starts to form at the bottom of the pan, add the onions and garlic, stir, then cook with the lid in place to trap the moisture released. Stir frequently. You may need to add a little butter/oil — or decrease the heat of the hotplate slightly — to enable the onions and garlic to cook to the point of being translucent without burning.
While this mixture is cooking, place the spices and salt into your mortar & pestle (or spice grinder) and create a coarse powder. Mix the spices into the cooked bacon-onion-garlic mix and cook just long enough for the mixture to become fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool until just warm > you do this because you don’t want to cook the egg when you add it to the mix.
In the meantime, you can make the pastry. Once it is rolled out into one flat sheet, place the bacon-onion-garlic mixture, mince, parsley and an egg into a blender or Thermomix and blend until a fairly uniform paste is formed. The resulting mixture is likely to be quite sticky [mine was] and that’s ok.
In preparation for the rolling process, whisk the second egg. This is the eggwash. Some people add milk to the eggwash. I don’t.
Next, allow about an inch from one edge of the pastry and spoon the sausage mixture onto the pastry in a sausage shape, then roll it. You should get 2-3 long rolls from the mixture, depending on how wide your pastry was rolled. Cut these into the desired length, remembering there will be some shrinkage as they cook. I cut my rolls to 5-6cm.
I should have taken photos of this process, but I didn’t. As luck would have it, Nicko did document his process; watch the whole 8:05 for some scary sausage facts and an alternative recipe — or fast forward to 4:28 if you just want the 1-minute-and-10-second tutorial on how to roll.
Now it’s time to cook your precious, offal-free parcels. Place the rolls on a tray that has been covered in baking paper, then brush each roll with eggwash. My very awesome pink silicon pastry brush disappeared from my life some time ago, so I do this with my fingers. Place the rolls in an oven that has been preheated to 200°C and cook for around 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is flaky and golden on top.
Serve with tomato sauce. Or sweet chilli could also be quite nice.
- This recipe is so simple and yum. I will never buy premade sausage rolls again. Although I can not recall the last time I did buy a premade sausage roll…
- While the flavour balance was awesome, my sausage mix was too lean. This resulted in a drier filling than I would have liked. Next time, I will add some breadcrumbs for a firmer texture, and I will include an extra rasher of bacon (uncooked) to the blender with all its fat intact. Fatty delicious.
- I made canape cases and a different kind of roll with the leftover pastry: smoked salmon, English spinach, dill and brie. Although the brie melted out of the pastry and all over the bottom of the pan, the flavour combination tasted great. I would recommend making this combination into pasties instead of sausage rolls.
- Warning: these are actually extra fabulous the next day. Just saying.
Before I finish this post, I would like to thank everyone who has responded to the question of what you would like to see more of in A Very Foodly Diary. For those who haven’t yet voted, please check out the poll at the bottom of my last post.
Yours in food,