Monday, October 7, 2013

Sausage rolls

After the last staggeringly sugary pear honey post, I figured you deserved a shot of savory.

Bring on the pork!

(Which is actually quite fitting, as today as is my wedding anniversary and it was Mr. Ninj who convinced me, many years ago, to give sausage and bacon another shot; now I love all three of them more than anything.)

I had my first sausage roll (well, it was a pasty but same diff) when Mr. Ninj and I took a trip to the UK a number of years ago. My reaction?


Yeah, they were some pretty damned addictive sausage rolls.

I made them a few times at home but they never tasted quite the same, which meant they fell out of meal rotation.

So thank the sweet baby jesus that I have a copy of Melissa Pasanen's and Rick Gencarelli's Cooking With Shelburne Farms and I happened to pick it up last week. The book has recipes for all the seasons, but for some reason I tend to gravitate toward it almost exclusively in the fall.

(I hope it's not simply because the cover is brown. That would be so incredibly lame of me.)

It is more likely because I think fall is the perfect time to cook what I think of as the best Vermont foods: earthy squash, crisp apples, hot cheesy soups, make-the-whole-house-smell-like-a-holiday roasting meat.

And there is a whole heck of a lot of all of that in Cooking With Shelburne Farms.

(Remember the apple/turkey/cheddar strata? Yes, yes, it's a really crappy picture but it is also an amazingly good dish.)

Therefore, being very fallish, I cracked open the book last week and found the recipe for sausage rolls.

Holy crap, peeps: They are wicked, wicked good.

And not difficult to make, which you know is the biggest criterion for The Ninj when choosing a recipe (I refer to techniques in this blog as "stealthy" but -- let's be honest -- that's really a cover for "not a lot of effort" or even "downright lazy.") Ever squished together a bunch of ingredients to make a meatloaf? Or rolled out some dough? Then you are imminently qualified to make sausage rolls.

This recipe makes a dozen sausage rolls, so you will have leftovers (YAY!). If you want the pastry to stay flaky, reheat them in the oven or a toaster oven if you can.

What's your favorite way to eat sausage? The Ninj wants to know.

Sausage Rolls (slightly adapted from Cooking With Shelburne Farms)

1 box frozen puff pastry (there should be two 10"x10" sheets inside)
1 egg, beaten
1 pound ground pork
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A few tablespoons parsley, minced
A few tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the egg wash:
1 tablespoon water
1 egg, lightly beaten

Thaw the puff pastry according to the package instructions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix up the egg wash in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the pork and the next 10 ingredients (everything except what's listed for the egg wash) in a bowl and blend it really well using your hands (a spoon just isn't going to get the job done right). Divide into four equal portions. 

Unfold one sheet of pastry on a piece of parchment paper placed on your work surface and then cut it down the middle.  Take one portion of the pork mixture and place it in the center of one of the pieces of pastry, leaving about 1 1/2 inches on either side (but be sure to get it all the way to the top and bottom edges) -- it will be about 2 inches wide. Repeat with the other piece of pastry on your work surface.

Fold the left half of one pastry piece carefully over the pork mixture. Next, brush the egg wash on top of it, as well as on the not-yet-folded right side of the pastry. Fold the right side on top to make a long log, smoothing down the dough to seal it up. Repeat this step for the other pastry sheet on your work surface.

Carefully turn your logs over so the seam side is facing down. Cut each log into three portions and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once on the sheet, cut 2 slashes in the top of each portion for venting.

Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining two portions of pork mixture -- you will end up with 12 sausage rolls on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake until the pastry looks puffed and nicely browned (this took about 10 minutes for me).

Cool slightly and serve with mustard.


  1. I don't get it. I have never used puff pastry before so forgive my ignorance but is it folded in thirds like a letter? So you put the pork in the center, then fold the left then right, flip it over. What I'm confused about... you say to cut it into three portions, do you make each portion like a ravioli before you cut it? Or do you just cut it so it's open on one side (or either side for the middle cut).

    1. Sorry for not being clearer -- let's see if I can explain it better. Puff pastry comes in a sheet, like a piece of paper (so you're letter-folding analogy is spot on). So imagine a piece of letter-sized paper in front of you on the table. You put the filling in a line down the center, so it takes up the middle third of the paper. Then you fold the left side on top of the filling and then fold the right side of the paper over the already-folded-over left side, leaving you with a rectangle. That rectangle is what you cut into thirds -- and yes, some of the ends will be exposed (in the photo, you are looking at a couple of those thirds with exposed edges). Does that help?