I’m calling it! This is the ultimate posh sausage roll recipe. I had some apricots in my baking cupboard, I had an inspiration, and this is the result.
This makes four enormous sausage rolls. It may seem like a lot but last week 10 people devoured them within seconds and I wished I had made even more… (I ate most of them actually. Sorry)
2 x 400g packs of plain pork sausages. Get as good quality as you can – 97% pork if possible (it says the percentage on the back of the pack under ingredients)
1 bunch of spring onions
2 garlic cloves
1 packet of chopped apricots, chopped up into small pieces (easiest with scissors)
5 sprigs of thyme, leaves pulled off, woody stems discarded
1 small handful of parsley
1 packet pancetta/smoky bacon, chopped up into small pieces (easiest with scissors)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 packs of jus-rol ready rolled pastry
1 egg, for glaze
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Chop the spring onions into very small pieces, then fry them up slowly and gently in generous amounts of olive oil in a frying pan. When they’re nearly cooked (which always takes much longer than any cookbook will have you believe), crush the garlic in the crusher and add that in. Cook the garlic very gently too, so that it doesn’t burn.
- Add the chopped pancetta in with the oniony garlic mixture and fry it up until cooked. I’m normally an enormous fan of crispy bacon, but this is not the time for that. Don’t overcook it. Keep stirring it until it’s cooked and all the delicious bacony juices have come out into the pan then been sucked right back up again. Put this mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Chop your apricots into little bits, pull the leaves off the thyme, chop them with a massive and wonderfully sharp knife to pretend you’re a proper chef, then add them to the mixing bowl. Don’t be precious about amounts. If you have some extra bits and bobs hanging around, chuck them in.
- Chop the parsley finely, and add that to the mix.
5. Slice the skins of the sausages with a sharp knife and put the meat into the mixing bowl too.
- Zest the lemon (ideally on a microplane, those brilliant tools you get in Lakeland) and add that in. Then put the lemon in the fridge and you can have it tomorrow morning squeezed into some warm water – very good for you.
Season it very generously with shedloads of Maldon sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Grate in some fresh nutmeg too. Not silly amounts, but a good few grates. One thing I’ve learnt from chefs is to overseason, and then add some more – particularly if it’s lovely Maldon. Never use table salt, it’s far too harsh and will then taste like salt rather than just bringing out all the flavours.
8. Get your hands stuck in – much easier and more thorough than a spoon. Squidge the sausage meat with all the delicious additions and squidge and squidge and squidge until it’s all combined. Put that aside. You could always make that in advance if you wished, then just take it out of the fridge half an hour before your guests arrive and build the sausage rolls.
Roll out the puff pastry, or if you’ve bought ready-roll then unroll it (I love this stuff. Don’t make your own puff pastry – there are not enough hours in the day to bother with such things, you really shouldn’t have to see how much butter goes into the making of puff pastry, and jus-rol is cheap and brilliant anyway)
Make the sausage rolls! For my last batch I divided each of the two ready-roll sheets in two (splitting the rectangle in two down the middle so it makes two sort-of squares) and squidged the meat mix out into four long sausages. Alternatively, you could make loads of mini ones. Put your meat along beside one edge, and roll it up tightly like when you were little and you’d roll your little sister up in a rug and make her into a sausage roll (I was the little sister).
Crack the egg into a little ramekin and mix it up with a fork. Get a pastry brush ready (the plastic/silicone ones are best because they clean easier). When you’ve rolled the sausage up in its pastry jacket, brush egg along the inside of the pastry then stick it down. Leave it open at the end so that it goes a bit crispy and then you get some extra pastry to snack on too.
Spread some silicone/greaseproof paper on a large baking sheet then put the sausage rolls on. You may only be able to fit two on – it’s nice for them to have a bit of space so that the pastry can puff up. Paint the whole of the sausage roll with the egg. Pop it in the oven for 20 mins, then check it, turn it around and do it for another 15-20.
Chop it into large bits, and serve it on a wooden board and pretend you run a hipster coffee shop in Stoke Newington.