Sausage rolls are a guilty pleasure for most of us, right? I initially made sausage rolls in the mandatory Home Economics class in my first year at secondary school (I switched to Technical Drawing once I was given free choice). We made simple rolls by either wrapping sausages or sausage meat in pastry, and we were damn proud of them!
Fast forward to my early student days when Campbell's Catering had the catering contract at UCC. Despite the dubiousness of the daily "Student Special", they had fine sausage rolls which I enjoyed at the trestle tables of the Kampus Kitchen, located in the bowels of the Science Building. I loved these rolls, despite the fact that they were pale and flaky, with a very generic pink "meat" filling.
These days, petrol station or convenience store hot counters are usually another good source for a cheeky sausage roll. I often sneak a sausage roll from Centra into the cinema for a cheeky snack. It smells and tastes a damn sight better than that putrid popcorn they serve.
But can a sausage roll be made into an artform? I definitely believe so, and I found one such location when I lived in Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to secure an apartment just around the corner from Patisserie Holtkamp on Vijzelgracht. Holtkamp is a treasure, and I urge you to visit it if ever you find yourself in Amsterdam. It produces fine patisserie, chocolates, croquetten (a favourite Dutch snack) and finally, saucijzenbroodje (sausage roll to you and me). I would hop out of bed on Saturday morning, and hurry to the little shop, lined with dark wood and glass display cases, so that I could beat all the other locals and grab the best goodies. The sausage rolls were a wonderful combination of dense, flavoursome veal, mixed with spices and herbs, and wrapped in a thin, slightly flaky butter pastry. Absolutely fantastic.
Lately, I've been working on homemade sausage rolls and I think that I'm getting close to a great recipe. For convenience I'm using ready to roll pastry, and the last step in this process will be to make my own pastry. I also use good-quality butcher sausages as my meat source, but if you can get sausage meat from your butcher, then feel free to use that. Anyway, here's my favourite attempt to date (makes 8 sausage rolls).
|Homemade sausage rolls|
1 pack of good-quality butcher sausages (I used M&S Pork and Herb sausages 400g)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
1/2 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
1 packet of ready to use puff pastry, defrosted
Salt & pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 170 Celsius and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.Prepare a little bowl of eggwash by breaking an egg and mixing with a fork.
Gently sautee the red onion and garlic in a little oil over a low heat, until soft and sweet. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Squeeze out the sausage meat from the packet of sausages into a bowl. Discard the sausage casing. Add the spices, onions, garlic and apple along with some salt and pepper. Using either your hands or a spoon, mix thoroughly so that the ingredients are well distributed throughout the meat.
I used Jus Rol puff pastry to make these previously, and I found that it was easiest to divide each of the 2 sheets into quarters, giving me 8 sausage rolls in total. Take a sheet of the pastry, and brush with the eggwash. Cut into quarters. In the middle of each quarter, place a thick "pipe" of the sausage meat and then roll up in the pastry. Place each completed roll on the baking sheet. Make 2-3 shallow diagonal cuts in the top surface of each sausage roll and then generously apply a coating of eggwash.
Place the tray into the oven and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes before applying a second coating of eggwash. Multiple coatings of eggwash allow for a deep golden colour (like a varnish) to develop, making the end result all the more attractive. Bake the rolls for another approx 20 minutes, until golden and cooked.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
Best served with a pinch of salt and perhaps a fine relish or chutney!