Today I wanted to post my first recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Comfort Food. I chose the “Giant Sausage Roll” at random and will continue to do so until I have made every recipe in the book. I knew this recipe would be a good way to start because it is a bit more challenging than your average everyday recipe.
To start, you have to make the dough that serves as the exterior to the roll. One thing in which I have very little experience is pastries and baking in general. It’s one thing to fry something where you can control and watch over it, but another when you have to precisely follow a recipe and hope for the best when you place it in the oven. Therefore, I knew this would be a bit of a challenge from the very beginning.
Before I continue, I posted a picture below of all the ingredients I used. I replaced lard with vegetable shortening, just because that’s what I had. I went with one large onion instead of two and ground nutmeg, instead of grinding one myself. Lastly, I used about 600 grams of meat instead of 500. This was probably the most significant change because it made wrapping the roll a bit more difficult, but ultimately did not change anything much.
Following the recipe for the dough is VERY important in this case, as I learned after my first attempt to make the dough didn’t go so well. It uses simple ingredients: flour, salt, butter, shortening and cold water. I ended up adding too much water and it turned into a mushy paste which never came together in the fridge as it was supposed to. The picture below demonstrates my error. As you can see, it’s just too wet. The book said to add extra water if there were some dry spots when you mixed. Turns out, you just need to keep mixing and stay patient.
What happened then was that I had to delay cooking an extra hour, because obviously after I took the dough out of the fridge, it was not done. Not really a big deal dough (haha) because it’s easy and quick to make again. My second attempt was much better. As you can see below, it’s much dryer and can actually be rolled out properly.
While the dough chilled in the fridge, I took the other ingredients and mixed them up. I started with dried apple rings, fresh sage, onion and bacon and mix them all in a food processor. After that I just cooked all the ingredients in a frying pan on low for 15 minutes. This makes everything soft.
After the onion mixture cools, I added it to your meat along with bread crumbs, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. I mixed it with my hands and it was ready to go onto the roll. Then, I took the dough out of the fridge and roll it on a flour dusted surface. It should be about as big as a basic cookie sheet.
I then formed the meat mixture on the dough as if it was a giant sausage and then roll the dough over and connect it to the other side. Lastly, I washed the dough with a beat egg and add your sesame seeds. Before it went in the oven, it looked like this.
I baked it at 375 degrees for 40 minutes and it came out not quite done, so I popped it back in for 15 minutes and it was perfect. My guess is that the extra meat I used caused the delay, but not a big deal because it didn’t affect the pastry in any way. One thing I did not anticipate is how much grease there would be. Between the bacon, the beef and the two types of fat in the dough there was a ton of run off. This causes the bottom to become a bit crustier and harder than the top, but still very good.
I ended up serving mine with a couple of pickles and three types of mustard: regular French’s, spicy polish mustard and a honey pineapple one.
The roll had a very rich and savoury taste and was very filling. I think the spicy and the sweet mustards were perfect compliments to the sweetness from the apples. I wouldn’t recommend the regular or any dijon mustards, as they don’t do justice to the richness of the sausage. Although there was a lot of grease on the pan, the roll itself did not have a greasy taste at all. The pastry ended up nice and light with a very subtle crunch. This would be a great dish to serve at dinner parties with 6-8 people. I ended up having 3 slices and being full for the whole night, with lots left over.
Although I chose to follow the recipe quite closely, the sausage mixture itself can be altered depending on some taste preferences. A little bit of red pepper or even some jalapeños would go well with this.
This was a great start to my journey with some minor missteps along the way. Starting with a recipe that had a few different cooking techniques will help me in the long run. Hopefully, I can learn to be a bit more patient when it comes to mixing things and remember to trust the recipe a bit more. Looking forward to my next challenge! See you soon.