Recipes // The one with the sausage rolls

I hate sausage rolls. Said no one ever. Well, no meat eater anyway. I love them – what’s not to love? Flaky, buttery pastry and succulent pork sausage meat. Ok, so the “traditional” sausage roll might not always be both of those things and I don’t think anyone ever described the meat in a Greggs special as succulent but according to a newspaper article last year they sell about 2.5m of them every week! So who am I to question them? Someone who loves to bake and eat, that’s who! I decided to make my own sausage rolls last week, not in an attempt to recreate the nation’s apparent favourites but as a souped up turbo version!

Here’s a quick how to:

1. First you need to put the oven on! About 180 C should do it. Then you can start to make up your sausage meat. You can buy packs of sausage meat from most supermarkets and use herbs and spices to make it tasty but I like to use ready made sausages and squeeze them out of their skins. I used Lincolnshire sausages and then I added a teaspoon of both thyme and oregano to it before squishing it all up with my hands. I used 6 normal sized sausages which was a bit too much and I probably could have gotten away with 3 or 4.

2. For the pastry, you need to go to a shop and buy some! Seriously, if you fancy making your own puff pastry you can easily find Mary Berry’s excellent recipe online but even the lady herself admits to using the packet stuff! I particularly like Aldi’s because it has a really buttery taste and it costs only 89p. Their shortcrust is very nice too. Top tip: try and remember to take it out of the fridge about 20 mins before you start, this will help stop it from cracking when you roll it out.

3. Next up is assembly! You can, of course, go straight in with the sausage meat but for a reeeeeaally tasty twist which I highly recommend, add some chutney as a layer before adding the sausage meat. I like a caramelised red onion one. Lay out your pastry still on the parchment and slice it in half long ways. One sheet will make 2 long rolls. You are eventually going to fold each half of the pastry in half again over the meat so you should add the chutney (if using) and then the sausage meat about 3 or 4 can away from the edge of the top (this is going to be the lip where you stick the top onto to close your roll). I find it easier to wet my hands first and then roll the sausage meat between my hands so it’s already in the right shape. Do not be tempted to make a really fat sausage as you’ll struggle to close it up.

4. Once you’ve done that, use a beaten egg with a drop of milk to stick the pastry together. Using a brush you can spread it down the gap at the top of your pastry.

5. Fold over the pastry and to make sure it’s absolutely secure, use a fork to smush together the top and bottom layers.

I’m no master chef so mine look a little rustic but I was mostly going for taste here so I wasn’t too bothered by style! But by all means you can trim the edges if you want.

6. Next, using a sharp knife, cut the long roll into smaller rolls. You can cut them to any size you like. Maybe you want full size, one per person type rolls or maybe you want party perfect cocktail sausages. The choice is yours! I went for a mixture of both. Don’t drag the knife through or you’ll drag and misshapen the rolls. You might also want to wipe the knife before cutting again as sausage meat is quite sticky and you won’t get a nice clean cut for every roll if there’s meat on the blade. I did also trim the ends of the long rolls just so it was super neat but you don’t have to do this.

7. Then make some slashes diagonally across the tops to help the steam escape during cooking. It helps if your knife is really sharp and you should do the cuts as quickly as you feel safe doing. Try not to drag the knife slowly as it’ll give your cuts a weird shape when they cook.

8. Last job before we put it in the oven, use your brush to put the remaining egg wash on the top of each roll. I love shiny pastry and you will have egg leftover so it’s use it rather than chucking it!

9. You can then pop each roll onto your lined baking tray. I like to use a silicone mat to line my trays but you can use parchment if you prefer. You might also want to use a spatula to lift your rolls onto your tray depending on the size of them.

10. Cook the rolls for about 25 mins. To make sure the meat was cooked through I used a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the middle of one of the rolls so I knew for sure they were cooked all the way through. You might get a bit of sticky leakage from each sausage roll but this is from the chutney so don’t worry. It can look frightening burnt but this is from the sugar that goes into it. You can easily pull or cut it off once they are cool.

11. When they’re out the oven, leave them on the tray for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a baking rack for them to cool further.

Now if you can wait for them to be stone cold before you scoff then you’re a better (probably much thinner) woman than me. But I think they are at their best when eaten warm. I like to dip mine in a bit of ketchup too and the husband likes brown sauce but if the smells overcomes you before you have chance to get the bottle out of the fridge I can assure you that they taste amazing just by themselves too.

I really hope you make them and I’d love to hear what you think. I think they’d be perfect if you were throwing a party over Christmas or New Year as they are really easy and can be put together and either kept uncooked in the fridge until your ready or they’ll be good cooked the day before, any longer and the pastry isn’t at its best. In our house they were just a Monday night treat that were inhaled by the husband, my dad and me before they even got cold!

Happy baking!

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