I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a sausage roll. I grew up as a kid eating them whilst watching the sport on a Saturday afternoon, bought from the supermarket and eaten hot out of the oven. They are comforting and delicious, and perfect for an autumnal dinner or simply as a snack.
Making them at home allows you to tailor them to exactly how you want them to taste and look. You can make really quick sausage rolls by using your favourite sausages, removing the skins and rolling in shop bought puff pastry, but the taste and texture that you can create by adding the other ingredients can be amazing. I have put pieces of black pudding running through mine as I love the earthy undercurrent that you get with each mouthful and the look of them once cut open, but the combinations you use are really up to you. You could add chilli powder to make them really spicy, or spoon onion marmalade next to the filling mixture before sealing the pastry and baking. Vegetarians can substitute the pork filling with a mushroom pate, butternut squash, goat’s cheese etc. with great results.
I was always told not to waste my time making puff pastry and to buy it from the shops instead, and for years I did. But recently I have really got into making my pastry and would recommend giving it a go. The texture and taste is so much better, and it doesn’t take that long to make. You can make everything else while the pastry is resting, so you can have sausage rolls in the oven in under two hours. Once you have mastered making puff pastry it is quick and easy, and can be used for loads of other things like pies, tarts and pasties. It’s worth making big batches of it and keeping in the freezer, then it’s just a case of thawing it out and you have a quick and amazing dinner.
Preserves such as jam and marmalade are always better when made at home, and piccalilli is just the same. And it is so easy too! A lot of these things need weeks after making to mature before you can finally eat them. This recipe is better after weeks or months in the fridge, but if you cannot wait then it is still great once cooked. I’ve still got loads left over from my last batch and it is fantastic with cheese and all sorts of hot and cold meats. If put into properly sterilised jars, it will keep for a good year so it’s worth making loads. If you have too much then it it is great as a present too!
Makes 12 large sausage rolls
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
1 good pinch course sea salt
1/2tsp baking powder
225g salted butter, cubed and very cold
1 egg, beaten
For the sausage filling:
250g good black pudding, cut into large rough chunks
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1tbsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
For the piccalilli:
1 head cauliflower, cut into very small florets
2 onions, chopped into small dice
200g french beans, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1cm dice
1/2 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1cm dice
1 chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
700ml malt vingear
150ml white wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
2tbsp ground coriander
3tbsp English mustard powder
3tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
First make the piccalilli. In a very large saucepan heat up the malt vinegar. When boiling, add the cauliflower, carrots and onion for a few minutes, until slightly soft. Add the chilli, cucumber, beans, garlic and sugar and cook for another 2 minutes, before draining carefully and collecting the vinegar. In a separate bowl, whisk the mustard, flour, turmeric, coriander, white wine vinegar and a good amount of seasoning until smooth.
Put the spice and vinegar mixture into the now empty saucepan and heat up on a medium flame. When hot, whisk in the malt vinegar in three goes until well combined. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally to stop catching the bottom of the pan. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, taste and add more salt if needed, before adding the cooked vegetables and mixing through. Remove from the heat and pour into a large sterilised kilner jar. Seal the lid and once cool refrigerate.
To make the puff pastry for the sausage rolls, put the flour, butter cubes, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Mix quickly with spoon but do not combine, then add the milk and stir together. The dough should look stodgy and uncombined, with the lumps of butter still solid in the mixture. Tip out onto a really well floured surface and work the mixture into a rough 30cm square. Fold the square in by thirds, then repeat the rolling and the folding process. At this point the dough will be really difficult to work, and will look like a dodgy omelette, but have faith as it will combine by the end. Wrap the folded dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for half an hour. Repeat the rolling and chilling twice more and the dough is ready to use (or freeze if not using straight away).
While the dough is chilling, make the sausage filling. Fry the onions, garlic and thyme leaves in a little oil and butter gently until soft, about 10-15 minutes, then allow to cool. Put the sausage meat, black pudding chunks, grated carrot, cumin, paprika, parsley, the cooled onion mixture and seasoning into a large mixing bowl and combine well. Heat up a small frying pan with a little oil and fry a small patty of the filling mixture for a couple of minutes each side until cooked through. Taste the patty and adjust any of the flavours and seasoning.
Roll the finished pastry into two 30cm x 20cm pieces, and form a line of the filling mixture a third of the way into each sheet. Brush the pastry with a little water and carefully fold over, keeping it tight to the filling before crimping the two pieces together with your fingers. Cut into pieces as large as required and place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Slash the top of each sausage roll with a sharp knife and brush all over with the beaten egg.
Cook in an oven heated to 180ºC (fan) for about 40 minutes and serve with a large dollop of the piccalilli and a nice green salad. Any uncooked sausage rolls will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and will make a really quick lunch or dinner.