It’s only sausage rolls – but I like it

I almost never eat sausage rolls, not unless I make them myself or I’m at a celebratory function like a wedding and my mild inebriation demands that I eat everything at the buffet.
As I have noticed from these occasions, The Michael Devlin Show follows a familiar pattern: Sober Michael finds himself demoted by Inebri-Michael and the resultant heartburn Inebri-Michael experiences from gorging on sausage rolls become the least of his worries the following day.
In normal, every-day life though, I almost never eat them. Buying sausage rolls from a hot food counter say, at a petrol station, effectively means that I’m paying for heartburn. It happens every time and during one particularly bad bout, I was forced to wonder if petrol itself had been used as an ingredient. So I tend to steer clear.
I remember I used to eat sausage rolls too when I worked in an abattoir. This was a long time ago and despite the experience etching itself forever onto my memory, at least now I can recall those times with a shake of the head and a wistful smile.
This being a column about food and eating, I’ll refrain from telling you any particulars about my role in said abattoir except to say, it was mainly and mostly unpleasant.
However, should you ‘meat’ me out one night and if Sober Michael has been demoted once again to distant bystander, Inebri-Michael will be only too happy to regale you with some horrifically offal tales. 
But the sausage rolls though! These I clocked on a hotplate during my first day at the abattoir, during lunch break and at the time, I was incredulous that people who were in the business of dissecting cattle could effectively wash innards off their hands and then eagerly chow down on sausage rolls.
It was likely a mixture of squeamishness and naivety on my part but it didn’t last. The very next day my reservations had dissipated and come lunchtime, I was chowing down with the rest of them (after washing my hands of course). The reason I mention these sausage rolls is that they were most excellent and some of the best I can ever recall eating. Nor did they give me heartburn – result!
The absolute best though, will be the ones you cook at home, fresh from the oven, crispier than crisp and with the seasoned meat bursting out the sides for added delectation.
I only make sausage rolls now and again, when the notion takes me. In this instance, the motivating factor was the tasting of my first ever Gregg’s sausage roll. My misconceptions were, as you might imagine, misplaced and I certainly enjoyed the hearty snack, with added lashings of red sauce (or ketchup, if you’re feeling posh) for a spiky counterpoint.
I decided there and then that I would make another batch of my own at home.
And so on Sunday night before Inebri-Michael could claim dominance over the habitually mild-mannered janitor of this life, Sober Michael went to work. The picture above, which being decent enough in its own way, doesn’t do the sausage rolls justice.
It doesn’t capture the scent hanging in the air of kitchen, that of decadent pastry mixed with the depth of roasting meat and the sweet smokiness of chorizo. Nor does it capture the abject joy from the bystanders as the ‘rolls  they emerge from the oven like an edible Terracotta Army, beautifully uniformed and ready for battle.
Nor does the picture adequately relate that moment of biting down into the crisp shell for the first time, and the resulting sighs of appreciation, as the rest of the diners munch on and on and on…
This recipe for pork and chorizo sausage rolls makes lots of two-bite jobbies, which is how nature (and Sober Michael) intended. 
6 of your favourite pork sausages, ideally large ones
1 small red onion, finely diced
thumb-sized chuck of chorizo, finely chopped (you would ideally use cooking chorizo but I couldn’t find any)
salt and black pepper
1 320g pack of ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg
2 tbsps of milk
Start by pre-heating the oven to 190˚C (fan) and as that’s happening, remove the casings from the sausages and place the meat in a large bowl. Add the onion and chorizo and seasoning and mix really well until everything is combined.
Your puff pasty will likely come in one large sheet. Unwrap this and place on a lightly floured surface and then cut it in half lengthways. Divide the sausage mixture in two and then lay each half of the meat along the length of the pastry, about 4cm in from each long edge. 
Mix the egg with the milk and whisk. Brush this eggwash along one long edge of the pastry as a sealing mechanism. Roll each piece of pastry containing the meat into a cylinder with the result that the eggwash sticks one long end of the pastry to the other. It might be a bit finicky the first time but it’s not rocket science either. Do the same with the other pastry sheet and then chop each cylinder into pieces. Brush each of these generously with the eggwash, remove the lot to a baking sheet covered with some non-stick baking paper then retire the whole shebang to the oven for between 25 and 30 minutes, until he pastry has risen and is turned from golden into golden brown.
When done, remove from the oven, pile onto a plate and with the cunning use of red sauce (or ketchup), dig in. 
Try not to burn the roof of your mouth!
Buying sausage rolls from a hot food counter say, at a petrol station, effectively means that I’m paying for heartburn. It happens every time.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007

Have you tried to de-scale a fish recently? What a mission!


Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW