Friday, September 17, 2010

When Life Gives You Sausages, Make Sausage Rolls

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Sausage rolls - when they are good, they are very, very good... 
A couple of years ago, I was on my way to South Ann’s Street Post Office to mail an entry form for a competition. I was only about a hundred metres from my destination when I was stopped in my tracks by an almighty bang as a delivery lorry backed into one of the beautifully decorative street lamps.

The cast metal pole shattered on impact. The entire structure keeled over like a felled tree and I could feel the breeze as the whole weight of it whistled past about a metre from my face. Luckier still, it buried its massive lantern in a huge municipal flowerpot, which cushioned the impact and absorbed the glass as it shattered into smithereens. The driver leaned out the window, asked “Alright luv?”, and drove off at speed when he could see that he hadn’t flattened me. I think a whole lot of my good fortune was used up in one go as an astonishingly lucky streak came to an end for a couple of years.
I seem to be back on form now though. I entered a competition recently with a very attractive top prize of €3,000. All you had to do was come up with an idea for a new sausage to commemorate 30 years of stunningly good sausages from Irish supermarket, Superquinn. I came up with the all-in-one breakfast sausage, containing three important components of the legendary Full Irish Breakfast: black pudding, white pudding, and of course excellent sausage meat.
Can you believe it? I was the lucky winner of ... a year’s supply of sausages. Well when life gives you sausages, make sausage rolls.

For 12 delicious rolls you will need
... to pre-heat the oven to 180°C when you reach step 4

165g (5oz) plain flour
a pinch of salt
75g (3oz) butter, from the fridge
75mls (3 fl oz) iced water

A small bowl of cold water for sealing the pastry

Egg wash
A little beaten egg mixed with a pinch of salt

12 good-quality pork sausages (chipolatas)
6 slices of air dried ham such as Prosciutto, Serano or Bayonne

Ready to rock and roll...
1    First make the pastry: put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and grate in the butter. Rub the fat into the flour by lifting large pinches of the mixture and rub quickly between your thumbs and fingertips fingers, letting the mixture fall back into the bowl. You want to end up with a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (This can be done in a flash using a food processor or food mixer if you prefer, and in fact can give better results as warm hands can melt the fat resulting in a tough pastry.)
2.   Add the water a little at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball, leaving the sides of the bowl clean. Flatten the ball of pastry into a flat disc and wrap in clingfilm or a ziplock bag and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the filling.
3    Meanwhile prepare the filling: Cut each slice of ham into 2 long strips and wrap a strip around each sausage. Place in the fridge until the pastry has been chilled.
4.   When the pastry has been in the fridge for 30 minutes, place it on a lightly floured work surface and using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle about the width of 3 sausages laid end to end, about 40cm in length and about 3mm thick - roughly the thickness of a euro coin. Now cut the pastry into 3 long even strips. Divide each of the strips into 4 equal pieces.
The Fall collection for the well dressed sausage...
5.   Taking one pastry piece, place a ham-wrapped sausage on the end nearest you, about 4cm from the edge of the pastry. Fold the nearest edge over the sausage and moisten the along the top with a little cold water. Roll the pastry over the sausage to enclose it and transfer to a non-stick baking tray, with the pastry join underneath. Repeat until you have used up all the sausages.
6.   Brush with beaten egg. Using a sharp knife, slash two or three diagonal cuts into the top of each roll.
7.   Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before serving.

Leave the backing paper on the air dried ham and use a scissors to cut it into strips. Peel the backing paper off before wrapping the sausage in the ham.
If you like, you can freeze the sausage rolls once they have been assembled but before you have egg-washed them. When you want to use them, simple pre-heat the oven. Place the frozen sausage rolls on a baking tray and proceed from Step 6

For bite sized sausage rolls, cut each into 2 pieces before baking.
Replace the short-crust with a good-quality all-butter frozen puff pastry. Remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before you need it.
Spread a ½ teaspoon of good quality tomato chutney underneath each sausage before enclosing in the pastry for a little added zing.
That’s a dozen sausages taken care of. Now for the other 820 ... anyone any bright ideas?
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  1. These sausage rolls sound fantastic! I love that they're wrapped in prosciutto, too! :D

  2. These look really good! Perfect for entertaining!

  3. Very yummy! Great idea and love the addition of prosciutto!

  4. You'll have to share your winning entry for the all-in-one-breakfast sausage.


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