It sounds unusual, but some grated lemon zest really turned out to be the secret ingredient to lift and lighten what can sometimes be an overly stodgy treat. I learned the trick online, and I can't recommend it enough. Herbwise I stuck with the classic combo of sage and thyme (and the household highly approved), but feel free to play around with whatever aromatics you see fit. You can also use store bought puff pastry if you're too lazy to make the dough from scratch. Both the filling and pastry can be made a day or two ahead of time.
They're rich, hearty, and quite possibly the best savoury party bites ever. Merry Christmas and happy eating this holiday season everyone! :)
Homemade British Sausage Rolls
Makes about 40 bitesize pieces (*Feel free to make large individual portions if you like. Adjust cooking times accordingly and bear in mind the pastry will puff up.)
- Filling (you can make this several days in advance for the flavours to intensify):
1 1/2 lbs minced pork (*I asked my butcher to grind up a piece of pork loin. You can also use shoulder or ready-bought sausagemeat. Some recipes suggest pork belly or adding some streaky bacon... personally I think this would be too fatty)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage leaves (roughly a handful)
Roughly 2 tbsp fresh thyme (about 16 sprigs- I usually just run my hand down the stem and pull the leaves off instead of chopping)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste
Like herby pork Play Doh :)
- Puff pastry
2 sticks (230g) very cold butter, diced into cubes
2 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
Gradually add 1/2 cup ice cold water bit by bit, stirring slowly with a butter knife until incorporated and kneadable (not too sticky). Press with your hands into a rough dough ball (the butter cubes will still be visible) and cling wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 mins or overnight.
Have 1 beaten egg and some flour on standby. Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C).
Place the rested dough ball on a well-floured surface, dust the top with more flour (I like to cover it with a sheet of cling wrap to ease clean up) and roll out slightly into a disc. Fold in the edges to form a square, flip it over and roll out into a large rectangle about 0.5 cm thin.
Cut the dough into 4 strips. Working with one piece at a time, roll each dough strip out longer and thinner if necessary. Squeeze a quarter of the meat into a long log with your hands (beware sexual innuendoes from cheeky roommates) and place in the centre of the pastry. Brush one edge with some water or egg wash, and roll it up snugly.
Cut into about 10 pieces. Arrange on a baking tray. Repeat with the other 3 strips of pastry and the rest of the meat.
Make a slit or several on top of each piece with a knife (to allow steam to escape). You can also prick with a fork.
Brush each piece with some egg wash.
Bake at 425 F (220C) for 25-30 mins until golden brown and crisp. The oil from the pork may ooze and bubble- don't worry, it's meant to happen :)
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Serve warm, with some good ol' HP brown sauce if you wanna be really pukka :) Enjoy!