I was always a meat wrapped in pastry kind of girl, but moving to Australia really introduced me to a world of possibilities in the genre. No more salty, gloopy, cheap cuts of meat wrapped in lifeless dough. The foodie explosion (in Sydney at least) has seen humble meat pies and sausage rolls placed up on their rightful pedestals. Good quality ingredients wrapped in even better pastry is a foolproof combination and new bakeries and boulangeries seem to open weekly with new additions to the canon.
The Bourke Street Bakery in Sydney was one of the first, and still one of the favourites. And their Pork and Fennel sausage roll is at the top of my list. This recipe is adapted from their cookbook, but I have omitted the homemade puff pastry. While the pastry is arguably an integral part of the recipe, it is also a huge amount of work. It is possible to buy really good quality pre-made puff pastry from specialty (snooty, high-priced) food shops, and lets face it, the supermarket stuff is just fine for most. For those of you who want a challenge to tackle, you can find the recipe here.
Serve these up at your next cocktail party and make your guests pleased as punch! In fact, serving them with punch would be even better.
Adapted from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam & David McGuinness
makes 10 large sausage rolls
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, finely chopped in a food processor or spice grinder.
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 1 cup brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup carrot, finely chopped
- 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds) minced pork
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 teaspoons white pepper
- Good quality puff pastry (about 5-6 sheets), while homemade is awesome, it is extremely time consuming.
- Egg wash (1 egg and 1/4 cup milk)
- Fennel seeds for sprinkling
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add fennel and thyme and stir for one minute. Add onion and celery and cook until onion softens (about five minutes). Add the carrots and cook until the vegetables are mushy (about twenty minutes).
- Remove vegetables from heat and allow to cool.
- Heat oven to 200°C (400°F)
- In a large bowl, mix the pork mince, vegetables, breadcrumbs, salt and white pepper.
- Mix the meat with your hands for a couple of minutes, making sure it is combined well. At this stage you can take a small bowl of the mixture and cook it in a hot frying pan to test the flavour.
- Divide the filling mixture into five or six even portions.