Just because a dish has a reputation for being a little 'basic' doesn't mean we can't make it properly with better sourced ingredients and what better than the humble sausage roll.
The wrapping of meat or other foodstuffs into dough can be traced back to the Classical Greek or Roman eras. However sausage rolls in the modern sense of meat surrounded by rolled pastry, appear to have been conceived at the beginning of the 19th century in France. From the beginning, use was made of flaky pastry, which in turn originated with the Hungarian croissant of the late 17th century. Early versions of the roll with pork as a filling proved popular in London during the Napoleonic Wars and it became identified as an English dish.
Now just one large bakery and sandwich retail chain in the UK (which needs no introduction!) sells a staggering 2.5 million of them every week, it truly has become a British institution.
Our version is made of course with our outdoor reared soy free pork, a classic unjunked.
This recipe is taken from The Quality Chop House: Modern Recipes and Stories from a London Classic by William Lander, Daniel Morgenthau & Shaun Searley (Quadrille, £30).
20g of pork or duck fat
35g of shallots, diced
400g of Ethical Butcher soy free pork mince
30g of breadcrumbs
6g of Maldon salt
350g of ready made puff pastry
2 egg yolks, beaten
For the spice mix:
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
Start by making the spice mix. Preheat an oven to 170°CMix all the spices together and spread them out on a baking tray.
Toast in the oven for 5 minutes, then leave to cool.
Blend using a spice grinder and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. It will obviously last longer than this but it will lose its freshness
For the sausage rolls, heat the duck / pork fat in a saucepan over a low-medium heat, then add the shallots and sweat for 10 minutes – you don’t want them colouring.
Now add 1 tsp of the spice mix and cook for a further 5 minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to cool. Meanwhile, mix the minced pork with the breadcrumbs and salt. When the shallots are cool, add them to the pork
Transfer the sausage mixture to a piping bag and cut a 10cm hole in the end. Leave to one side while you prepare the pastry
Roll out a rectangle of pastry to 70x20cm and pipe the meat down the centre, working lengthways.
Brush the exposed pastry with egg wash until it is tacky to touch, then flip one of the long sides of the pastry over to meet the other, enclosing the sausage. Keep the pastry as close to the meat as possible.
Press the 2 edges together with your fingers to seal then crimp with a fork. Press and massage the sausage roll to form a consistent shape, then rest in the fridge for 2 hours
Preheat an oven to 195°C.
Brush the whole roll with egg yolk and leave to dry, then brush with more egg and cut into 10cm pieces.
Season with Maldon salt and bake for 18–22 minutes, or until a prove stuck in the middle reads 70°C. Serve hot or warm