Fiction-Food Café

August 8, 2018

Sausage Rolls | Lockwood & Co.

"George ordered in a vast variety of doughnuts from the corner store. I bought some crepe paper streamers and hung them up around the kitchen. Lockwood returned from a trip to Knightsbridge with two giant wicker baskets, filled with sausage rolls and jellies, pies and cakes, bottles of Coke and ginger ale, and luxuries of all kinds. Once this stuff was unloaded, our kitchen surfaces (and two shelves in the basement storeroom) had virtually disappeared. We sat amid a wonderland of edible delights."

Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

          I recently blew through the whole Lockwood & Co. young adult novel series (five books and one short story) by British author Jonathan Stroud and absolutely loved it. It's a paranormal (horror?) action adventure mystery that takes place in an alternate world, present day London (that feels older to me because of the storyline). Ghosts have become a common, every night problem in London and agencies made up of children–the only ones who can see the ghosts–go out until the wee hours of the morning to combat the threat. One touch from a ghost and you're gone (well, unless you've got a quick adrenaline shot handy) child and adult alike. The story revolves around one very small independent agency, narrated by one of its more reckless and extremely talented members. Amid solving many smaller mysteries concerning the nights' ghost jobs, the characters gradually uncover the overarching mystery at the heart of The Problem (the infestation of ghosts) that has been ravaging London for fifty years. And they drink a lot of tea and munch on sausage rolls many times, plus other delights.
       It's really a great series and I'm excited that a TV series is in development by British company Big Talk Productions.

* I talked about this series in a recent episode of "Fiction Kitchen Podcast", including the importance of food in the story and several instances of specific foods. You can listen to the episode here*

Note: Sausage rolls can be made with many different ingredients to suit the maker. The spices in the recipe below can be omitted, or you could add in others to your taste. You could even add minced tender carrot, I bet that would taste really good! It's a very versatile recipe. Even the dough can be tweaked if you'd like to stir in some herbs to the flour or shredded cheese with the sour cream. A basic sausage roll is simply pastry around ground pork, so you could certainly just do that!
          If you're not into meat, you can make a spinach filling with a package or two of drained steamed spinach mixed with cream cheese or crème fraîche and onion powder, or soft minced onion, plus any other spices to your taste. Prepare and bake the same.

Sausage Rolls

1 3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 Cup Chilled Butter, cubed small
1/3 Cup Sour Cream (or greek yogurt)
1/2 Large Onion, minced
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Smoked or Sweet Paprika
1 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Rosemary
1 lb. Ground Pork
1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1 Slice Bread, minced
1 Egg Yolk

Pastry: Whisk together the flour & salt in a medium bowl. Add in the cubed butter & rub in with your fingers or use a pastry blender to cut it in. Once it becomes shaggy/crumbly cut the sour cream in with the side of a fork until everything draws together.

Plop the mixture out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap & pat it out to about 1/4" thickness. Lay another sheet of plastic on top, wrap the edges, & place in the fridge for a few hours.

Filling: In a small pan on medium low heat, combine the onion with the oil & sauté until tender. Stir in the paprika & rosemary & cook for a minute & then remove from heat.

Combine the ground pork & beef in a medium bowl using your your fingers, & then add in the onion mixture. Rub the bread pieces through your hands & mix everything together well.

Assembly: Flour a large sheet of parchment & lay the dough from the fridge on it. Cut the dough in half, saving half to the side to use shortly, & roll half into a long right to left rectangle about 1/8". Use flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick.

Using half the meat mixture make a horizontal log across the center of the dough. Fold the edge of parchment closest to your up & over the meat, & then peel the parchment away from the dough (the dough should be over the meat now).

Judge the other end of the dough & cut away any that will overlap too much (the dough edges only need to overlap a bit). Stir the egg yolk & lightly brush the edge of the dough & then fold it up & over the meat in the same way you folded the previous edge (using the parchment).

Roll the sausage roll over onto the seem. If you have excess dough you may fashion it on using a bit of yolk (I made a chain down the center of mine). Place the roll in the fridge to chill (you don't have to wrap it in plastic or anything).

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Repeat the roll-making process with the other half of dough & meat mixture. Once the oven is ready, pull the first roll out of the fridge.

Using a large sharp knife cut the roll into segments according to your preference (mine are about 3" long). Lay these on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Brush the segments with yolk & score the tops with a knife.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes & serve warm, with or with out any dipping sauces, it's up to you. :) Repeat the process with the second roll once the first is finished baking.

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