pork and fennel sausage rolls
Flaky pastry, savoury, steaming filling and a flavour that rivals no other, the sausage roll (that is, a good sausage roll) is the ultimate Aussie food. Not the meat pie, not the lamington or that black, salty vegemite. No, for me, the sausage roll evokes childhood memories formed soon after our family migrated to Perth.
I remember the tiny, party sized sausage rolls from the school canteen – which were 20 cents each! Flakes of confetti-like pastry flittering through the air and the squirt of tomato sauce dribbling over the foreign tasting filling. It was lunchtime bliss.
Now years later, I realise close up, the sausage rolls of yesteryear are just a rose tinted vision. The happy ring of the lunchtime bell and the needy growl of hunger satiated by the treat overlooked the grey factory filling, and the fuzzy film of lard which lingered long after the second bell had rung.
But the best thing about growing up is realising you can make things better. I still vehemently love pastry, along with many other foods from Perth’s multicultural landscape.
One of my newer obsessions are Italian pork and fennel sausages. I adore how the pork’s luscious texture is exaggerated by the fennel seed’s sweet and earthy fragrance.
Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls
You can make your own puff pastry, but I just buy ready made butter puff from the freezer section.
Makes 6 sausage rolls
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fennel seeds, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tbsp paprika (optional)
1/2 tbsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
600 g minced pork
1 heaped tbsp dried breadcrumbs
2 tsp salt
3 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (I like it really peppery, but adjust to taste)
50 ml milk
500 g butter puff pastry sheets
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the garlic and fennel seeds until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the thyme, oregano, paprika, chilli, onion and carrot.
Cook for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Take off the heat and cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork mince, vegetables, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and vigorously (best to use your hands) for a few minutes or until the mixture gets slightly sticky.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a small jug or bowl, lightly beat the egg and milk together to make the egg wash.
Take out the butter puff sheets (don’t let them go too soft, it’s best to defrost as needed).
On a flat surface, cut each square sheet into half. If using home made pastry, cut your puff pastry into 15 x 30 cm rectangles.
Place a sixth of the filling in the middle of each pastry half, lengthways.
Brush the long edge with the egg wash. Fold the pastry over and press to close the log tightly – leave the ends open.
Cut each log into even halves. Repeat for the remaining filling.
Place on lined baking trays, seam side down.
Brush the top of each roll with the egg wash to give a golden glow, and if you want, jazz them up with extra fennel seeds.
(At this point, they can be frozen, glazed and ready to go.)
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until they are golden and puffy.
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