Friday, March 7, 2014

Sausage Rolls with Mustard Cheese Dipping Sauce

Last Year's Post: Hibachi Shrimp (or Chicken or Beef or Lobster)
Two Years Ago:  Spinach Salad with Spicy Orange Dressing

Sausage rolls are a popular snack food in England, the original home of pub food.  They're all meaty/savory on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Served with a warm mustard cheese sauce, they just scream for a good craft beer.  You could make it a meal by adding some cut-up raw vegetables and soft pretzels (like we did) to dip in the sauce along with the sausage rolls - sort of like the beer version of fondue.  Or, serve these at your next party and watch them disappear - your beer-loving friends will go crazy.  Definitely double the recipe for a party.

The best part is that they're incredibly easy to make.  Make sure you buy pre-cooked sausages so you don't have to worry about whether they're cooked through or not, plus they're less greasy. Italian sausages are particularly good because they have a nice amount of spice that balances the cheese sauce, but use any flavor that appeals to you. I would think sun-dried tomato, garlic, or spinach varieties would also be good. Cut the puff pastry strips the same width as your sausage pieces so you can see the sausages when they're rolled up.  If the pastry looks a little too wide after you're done rolling, just trim it with a knife or kitchen scissors.  And finally, the cayenne pepper gives the cheese sauce a nice little kick but if you don't like spice just leave it out and the sauce will still be great.

Besides being easy to make, the other advantage for a party is that you can make them in advance and keep them refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap on their baking sheet.  All you have to do when the party starts is just bake them and make the cheese sauce (or make that in advance too, and simply reheat).

Dip, pop in mouth, sip beer, repeat.

printable recipe
Sausage Rolls with Mustard Cheese Dipping Sauce
Makes 16 appetizer rolls

Note:  raw vegetables and soft pretzels are also an excellent addition to serve with the cheese sauce.

For the sausage rolls:
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
All-purpose flour
4 pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausages (such as Aidells), Italian style or your favorite flavor
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper

For the cheese mustard dipping sauce:
¼ cup amber or dark beer
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
3 ½ ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (1 ½ cups)

Roll the puff pastry out on a floured surface to a rectangle of about 12” x 14”.  Place the shorter side closest to you, then trim the edges so they’re straight and cut the pastry in half crosswise into two equal pieces. Cut each piece into six long strips for a total of twelve strips and season with a little salt and pepper.  Brush the bottom edge of each strip with a little beaten egg and reserve the remaining egg for later.

Cut each sausage into three equal pieces.  Place a sausage piece on the top of a strip (away from the beaten egg) and roll up to enclose (the pastry should overlap somewhat).  Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with the remaining sausages and pastry strips.  Put the sausage rolls in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to harden.

Preheat the oven to 400d.

After 20 minutes remove the sausage rolls from the refrigerator and score the tops twice with a sharp knife.  Brush each roll all over with the rest of the beaten egg (taking care not to get the egg on the edges or on the sausage or this may prevent puffing in the oven).  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown and puffed.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes or so before serving.

While the sausage rolls are baking, combine all sauce ingredients except the cheese in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Gradually whisk in the cheese, continuing to cook until smooth and all the cheese is melted – about 5 minutes.

Serve the warm sausage rolls with warm cheese sauce on the side.

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