Mock Sausage Rolls

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Sausage roll, for the non-British readers, is a typical British savoury dish/snack, made out of sausage meat wrapped in puff pastry.

I am a big fan of puff pastry (although I have it seldom and in moderation due to its high fat content), and I love something soft or tender wrapped in crispy, flaky pastry – a Wellington or a Pithivier are prime examples of this.

Once I was taught by a chef how to make a sausage roll by wrapping spiced pork meat in puff pastry; I loved that technique and the appearance of the dish, but not so much the flavour, so I started to think how I could make a version that would suit my taste.

This is how I came up with the idea of Mock Sausage Rolls, which is simply something that looks exactly like a sausage roll but with a different filling; no need to say that the possibilities are endless and you can use any ingredient or combination of ingredients you like; here I use mushrooms and aubergines, which is one of my favs, with the addition of Parmesan and Parma ham.
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INGREDIENTS (make 8-10 rolls)

500 g ready-made puff pastry
200 g Parma Ham
1 kg Aubergine
300 g closed cup mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil (optional)
50 g Parmesan cheese
30 g Breadcrumbs
2 eggs
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  1. First, make the filling:
    For the aubergines (see: Grilled Aubergines ):
    Slice and purge the aubergines
    Pat them dry, brush with oil and grill
    For the mushrooms (see: Sauteed Mushrooms ):
    Slice the mushrooms; Sautee them in olive oil with minced garlic and salt
  2. When the mushrooms and the aubergines have cooled down, mince them with a knife, or pulse them in a food processor until coarsely chopped (along with the sundried tomato, if using it). IMPORTANT:  you don’t want to make them too liquid, otherwise the filling will not hold its shape
  3. In a bowl, mix this paste with the Parmesan, breadcrumbs and 1 egg plus 1 egg white – you will need to keep the other yolk for your egg wash (see points 11-12-13)
  4. Roll out the puff pastry. You can buy the ready-rolled one but I find it too thick and difficult to work with, so I normally buy a block and roll out the quantity I need to the thickness of a 1 Pound coin (about 3 mm)
  5. Trim the edges of the pastry sheet to give it a regular shape and line the middle with the Parma ham slices, making them overlap slightly
  6. Arrange the mix on top of the ham, giving it the shape of a sausage
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  7. Wrap the mix with the Parma ham, it will make it easier to roll the pastry
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  8. Brush the edges of the pastry sheet with water
  9. Roll the pastry around the filling, pressing lightly to seal it
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  10. Keeping the seam side down, score the upper side of the roll to give it a proper sausage roll appearance
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut the individual rolls, making sure they are all of the same size
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  12. Make the egg wash by beating the spare yolk with 1 tbsp. of water
  13. Brush the pastry with egg wash and refrigerate until ready to bake or at least for 15 minutes NOTE: refrigerating the puff pastry will help it rise
  14. When ready to bake brush for the second time with egg wash. NOTE: it is the egg wash that gives puff pastry the nice brown colour you normally see, it’s not the pastry itself, which otherwise will stay pale and whitish, and not very attractive
  15. Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes or until golden brown and risen

Sauteed Mushrooms

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Ingredients:

400g closed cup or button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
10g finely chopped parsley

First and foremost, since there are many varieties of mushrooms, let me clarify that this very simple recipe works well with button and closed cup mushrooms, which are the easiest to find and also the cheapest. Nevertheless, they will give you a fantastic result.

This recipe is truly Italian in its concept, since it achieves a great taste using few ingredients and a very simple process; mushrooms have a very distinctive savouriness, so they do not really need much to be added: just some garlic,parsley if you like it and some salt to enhance the flavour and also to draw out the water:

  1. If necessary trim the stalks
  2. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any dirt
  3. Slice them (about 3 mm thick)
  4. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil
  5. Sautee the garlic for 1 minute, being careful not to burn it
  6. Add the musrhrooms
  7. Add the salt and stir
  8. The mushrooms will start releasing their water (in general, the better the quality, the less water they release)
  9. Cook on high heat until all the water has evaporated
  10. Turn the heat down and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to allow even cooking
  11. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley (optional)

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