I had been wanting to make sausage rolls for a very long time. However, because my last few batches of sausage rolls had received something of a lacklustre review from the assembled throng, I was nervous.
Then, whilst pondering on what to do with a little bag of pulled pork that was left over when I portioned out the 2kg joint, I had what appeared to be a Very Good Idea.
The pulled pork wasn't enough to make anything except a sandwich on its own, but bolstered by something else (like sausage meat), it would make a grand ingredient.
So what is the obvious thing to make, when contemplating sausage meat? Well, yes, I admit - Scotch Eggs was right up there. However, because of hubby's sensitivity to eggs that wasn't too clever an option. No, but in the savoury baking line, sausage rolls were a definite possibility!
I pondered on what type of sausage meat to use. There are so many different types out there in the marketplace, the world is your oyster where making sausage rolls is concerned. However, I wanted to keep the pork theme going - and I remembered that our local butcher had some lovely fat Pork & Leek sausages. Now there's a bit of a problem with our butcher's sausages in that they can be dreadfully salty. However, I reckoned that with the pulled pork in the mix, it might very well help to alleviate some of the saltiness - as would the pastry.
However, thinking about how the combination would taste - after all, the pulled pork was cooked in a vegetable stock so wouldn't really be bringing much in the way of flavour (other than its porkiness) but loads in the way of texture to the table - I felt it needed something else. All the flavours, so far, were very savoury - what about a sweet note? I considered the onion marmalade we'd bought at the Dorset Smokery, but felt that would dominate over the leek. What would let all the other flavours sing, whilst providing a sweet note? AHA! Apple. Something sharp but sweet, like a Braeburn or Cox's. Not a cooker like a Bramley, as that would cook down to mush, but something that would hold its shape. Plus, it just so happened that I had a homeless Braeburn in the fridge.
There, the sausage rolls were sorted. It was a simple matter of chopping the pulled pork a couple of times to reduce the length of each strand, dicing the apple very finely and mushing the whole lot together with some skinned pork & leek sausages.
Wrap the whole lot up in some puff pastry (I really must learn how to make that stuff), egg wash and bake.
Happiness! I served mine for a main course along with baked beans and hash browns.
Whatever you might require sausage rolls for - and let's face it, there's a million reasons to have a sausage roll - these will do the job. Cut them big for taking to firework parties, cut them small for buffets and picnics. The flavours are just brilliant - the apple worked so well - and the whole filling is just big, rewarding and flavoursome. These aren't your mean, all-pastry-and-no-sausage supermarket sausage rolls - and they definitely aren't those nasty bright pink pap-filled things that you get from your local baker's chain. These are real sausage rolls - and an excellent reason to hold onto a little bag of leftovers from the next pulled pork!
PORK, LEEK & APPLE SAUSAGE ROLLS (makes 12)
150g shredded pulled pork, any large pieces chopped smaller
6 large pork & leek sausages, skins removed
1 Braeburn apple, cored, peeled and chopped finely
2 sheets of pre-made puff pastry (around 650g)
1 egg yolk, beaten lightly.
1. Into a large bowl, add the shredded pulled pork, the sausage meat and apple pieces.
2. Squish and mix with your fingers until the ingredients are all evenly distributed. You shouldn't need to season, as the sausage meat should be able to do the seasoning for you.
3. Unroll the first pastry sheet and run a rolling pin over it lightly, just to flatten it.
4. Cut in half (across the shorter side) with a sharp knife.
5. Take a quarter of the sausage meat mixture and form into a sausage shape slightly in from one side of the pastry. Take the meat right up to the edge of the pastry.
6. Brush a little egg yolk onto the other side of the pastry and starting with the sausage meat side, roll over onto the egg yolk side.
7. Give the roll a little press to make sure it forms a good round shape and press along the edge of the cut side of the pastry, to secure it to the roll.
8. With a very sharp knife, cut into three smaller sausage rolls and place onto a baking tray.
9. Repeat for the remains of the pastry. You should, therefore, have made four large sausage rolls, that are cut into 12 smaller ones.
10. Slash the top of the pastry lightly on each sausage roll, then brush with egg yolk.
11. Put into a pre-heated oven at 200degC/400degF/Gas6, for 35-45 minutes or until the pastry is crispy and golden.
12. Cool slightly before serving.