Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

rolls-large

Both my husband and I are food nerds in our own ways. I’m into baking and he’s into meat. (For the past year he’s been curing his own bacon and once you’ve had that, there’s no going back.) The ultimate dream is to collaborate on some from-scratch charcuterie boards — he’ll provide the sausages and cheeses and I’ll do the breads/crackers/dips. We’ll get there eventually. But in the meantime, these tasty little sausage rolls are a team effort that will be showing up on our appetizer tables for the years to come — he made the sausage, and I wrapped them in pastry.

I’ve made sausage rolls in the past using store bought puff pastry and that works perfectly well. But lately I’ve been into making my own rough puff. I use this pastry recipe for the base and simply add 2-4 turns to the process, resting the pastry in the fridge as needed (for me this is typically for 10 minutes after the initial mixing and after the first two turns). For or this savory application, I reduce the sugar to 1 teaspoon.

Also, the filling is very adaptable — skip the apple if you want and add in some sauteed onion and garlic; and feel free to play with the spices. You can also use regular ground pork, seasoned to taste — in this case I would add a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs and an egg to help bind the mixture together.

Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

Makes 24 two-bite rolls or 40-48 one-bite canapes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound puff pastry, thawed (1 store bought box or homemade)
  • 1 pound pork sausage, casings removed
  • 1 baking apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 scallion, finely diced
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tbsp water
  • Flaky salt, to finish (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix sausage, apple, and scallion in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg with 1 tbsp water.
  4. Roll out each sheet of puff pastry into a large square or rectangle (about 12″ x 12″ or 9″ x 13″) and cut each in half (for a total of four pieces).
  5. Spread a tablespoon of mustard down the center of each rectangle lengthwise.
  6. Divide the pork mixture into 4 equal parts and arrange on top of the mustard.
  7. Fold the bottom half of the pastry over the meat.
  8. Brush the top part of the pastry with egg wash and roll the puff pastry so the seam is facing down. Repeat with the other sheets. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes, or until pastry is firm.
  9. Cut each roll into the number of pieces desired (I like 6 per roll for a 2-bite snack — top photo or 10-12 for a one-bite canape — lower left photo). If making larger rolls, cut a couple steam vents on top; if making the one-biters, no vent is needed.
  10. Arrange about an inch apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
    Brush with remaining egg wash, followed by a pinch of flaky salt if desired.
  11. Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  12. Serve warm or cold with ketchup and/or mustard.

sausage rolls

Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Goh)

turnipcakeTurnip cake (lo bak goh) is one of my favorite dim sum items. I love the crispy exterior, soft middle, and medley of savory Chinese tidbits — Chinese sausage, mushrooms, and shrimp. Lo Bak Goh is also a traditional Chinese New Year dish, so in honor of the upcoming holiday I thought I’d share this recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make, and when you do it yourself you can adjust the amount of “goodies” inside to suit your preferences (i.e. more mushrooms, more sausage…I added some dried scallops this last time to make it even more decadent). You can also easily double or triple this recipe, though I recommend cooking up each cake separately to make the ingredients easier to combine.

turnipcake-ingredientsA few tips: there are some weird ingredients, but all should be available at your local Asian market. When choosing daikon, look for short, heavy ones. When cooking the turnip in step 4, your turnip may give off a lot of liquid. If your mixture looks really soupy, hold back some of the liquid when combining with the flour mixture (you probably want about 1/2 – 3/4 c total – just enough to create a very thick batter). You can always add some liquid back in. Or if your daikon seems dry, add a tablespoon of stock or water to help everything come together. Finally, though extremely delicious, cooking turnip cake tends to let off…pungent odors. So you may want to leave ample time to air your place out if you’re planning to make this for company. 🙂

Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Goh)

Makes one 8-inch pan | Adapted from Christine’s Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chinese white turnip (daikon) – about 2 lbs.
  • 170 gm rice flour
  • 4 Tbsp wheat starch
  • 1-2 links Chinese sausage (lap cheung)
  • Handful of Chinese dried shrimp, soaked
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 3/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Blanch Chinese sausage boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes for cleaning and easy chopping. Drain well and finely dice. Peel the turnip and grate into thick strips (I used the large holes of a box grater). Rinse and coarsely chop dried shrimp.
  2. In a big bowl, mix the rice flour with wheat starch well.
  3. Sauté Chinese sausage over medium heat. Toss in dried shrimp and mushrooms, and continue to sauté until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté minced scallions. Add grated turnips. Season with white pepper and salt to taste. Pour in chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and cook until tender and translucent (~5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
  5. Add rice flour and wheat starch to the daikon mixture and quickly combine into a thick batter. Add sausage, shrimp, and mushroom mixture and mix well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a greased 8-inch pan. Steam over high heat, covered, about 45 to 60 minutes. Check the water level and replenish, if necessary, with boiling water. To test for doneness, insert a chopstick into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked through. Let cool.
  7. Cut into pieces and fry both sides until golden brown. Serve hot, accompanying with chili sauce or with soy or oyster sauce.

Cauliflower with Tahini, Sesame, & Coriander

cauliflowerRoasted veggies frequent our dinner table. Broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, corn, onions, carrots — the possibilities are endless. Usually I just toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper; but when I ran across this recipe from the Toronto Star the spice combination was intriguing. The Mediterranean flavors are bright, bold, and complex; we paired it with spice-rubbed salmon, but I can see it going well with roasted chicken or grilled steak too.

Ingredients

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water (more if needed)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Kosher salt

Cauliflower:

  1. 1 large head cauliflower (~3 lb.), cut in medium florets
  2. 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, lightly crushed
  3. 1-1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted, lightly crushed
  4. Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves or cilantro for garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. For tahini sauce, in medium bowl, combine tahini, water, lemon juice, oil, and salt to taste. Whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside.
  3. Spread cauliflower on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, and roast to desired brownness (30-45 min.).
  4. In serving bowl, combine couliflower and tahini sauce to taste. Toss well. Cauliflower should be well-coated but not too wet.
  5. Spread cauliflower on platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, coriander, and parsley/cilantro.