WHY THE SAUSAGE ROLL ROCKS.
Because it's meat wrapped in crusty golden pastry, duh. Because it’s so easy to make, cook and eat. Because you can scale it up or down. But there's really one reason.
It’s because sausage rolls are now made with an eye for quality, not quantity.
Beautiful butter-soaked pastry that flakes at a touch and sprays crumbs all over your tee-shirt. Sensational sausage meat of multi-culti backgrounds that bring real flavour to the table. And actual chefs involved, who know the value of giving people something they want in a better form than they actually want it.
It’s a far cry from Victorian days, when The Times reported a bakery apprentice was taught to soak brown bread in red ochre, salt, and pepper to give the appearance of beef sausage for the filling. (Do not try this at home).
In a token nod to Father’s Day, here are a batch of sausage rolls filched from chefs Ben Shewry, Colin Fassnidge, Matt Moran, Ray Capaldi, Federico Zanellato, Tom Eadie, Andrew McConnell (it’s a blokey thing) and one from me.
HOW THE CHEFS ROLL.
Colin Fassnidge has not only turned pub food into an art form, he’s turned pork belly into sausage rolls for Delicious. Watch video here.
Chef Ray Capaldi, one of Melbourne’s great culinary strengths, is going gang-busters with his Wonder Pies business across Melbourne. Keep an eye out for his sausage roll specials, including the (crikey!) lasagne version shown here.
The enchantingly contrary Mr Ben Shewry of Attica, by the way, created the BTSRSR – the Better Then Sausage Rolls Sausage Roll – for Melbourne Food and Wine last year. From potato! See below. Watch the video here.
Matt Moran puts lamb from the family farm to good use at Chiswick, with a lamb and harissa sausage roll that ended up in Vogue.
Let is also be said that Tom Eadie and Matt Durrant of Berkelo do a damn fine sausage roll that you get to bake yourself.
And, of course, Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler’s Meatsmith, that fabulous butcher, providore and wine merchant with locations in Fitzroy, St. Kilda, Balwyn & Brighton, has turned its hand to a classic sausage roll.
It’s all good: Glen Eyrie pork mince seasoned with herbs, mustard and spices (including the magical addition of that most under-rated flavour bomb, celery seed) wrapped in all-butter puff pastry. (Make a note to yourself, if you don’t have celery seed in the spice cupboard, get it. I’ll give you some things to do it with it, next week).
Or scale it up to family-size with my giant sausage roll.
Jill’s giant sausage roll
200 g baby spinach
600 g minced lamb or pork
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs or Panko
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp chopped parsley or basil
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp salt and half tsp black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 sheet frozen butter-puff pastry, thawed
Heat the oven to 200C. Wash the spinach, shake dry and heat in a hot pan, tossing until wilted. Drain well, squeeze out excess water and roughly chop.
Mix the meat, breadcrumbs, garlic, paprika, chilli, parsley, dill, salt and pepper, and half the beaten egg, mixing well with your hands. Mix in the spinach, leaving it in clumpy bits rather than evenly blended throughout.
Form the mixture into a nice fat log the same length as the pastry when you place it on top of the sheet. Bring the pastry up around the meat ( a bit bulging out is also good) and seal the edge with beaten egg.
Place join-side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and lightly score the pastry. Brush with remaining beaten egg and bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Serve with tomato sauce, home-made or not.
# Why score it with a knife? Because it makes the roll easier to slice without shattering the pastry crust.
# Or swap out the minced lamb or pork for sausage meat – not the pappy pink stuff you see in the butcher, but the meat of great sausages - then dial down the spices and breadcrumbs accordingly, because they’ll have those in spades.
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I would like to acknowledge that I live, work and play on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and wish to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I fully support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution.