Boxing Day Sausage Rolls

The New York Times is an essential part of my day. I buy a printed copy every morning (yes, I’m still attached to paper) except Sunday, when I have it delivered directly to my steps so that I can read it in bed with a steaming cup of coffee. I particularly look forward to grabbing the Wednesday edition with its weekly Food section. The contributors to Food have become like familiar friends to me. It is indeed rare that I don’t learn something about cooking, restaurants, ingredients or books every week. That experience has now been enhanced by the formation of a new multimedia group called NYT Cooking that incorporates the Food section with a companion website and mobile app. The Times debuted the site, (and renamed the Dining section “Food”) in September 2014, when former Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton was named to head up the group. The move makes Sifton the first food editor at the Times since the legendary Craig Claiborne held that title in the 1960s. This new, expanded focus on food gives the paper a modern format for organizing their inventive recipes while still humoring us paper folk with our Wednesday Food section. So, read your paper and then browse through this great site.

NYT Cooking recently featured Boxing Day Sausage Rolls, a post-Christmas tradition in England. The recipe calls for making pastry dough and a flavorful pork mixture, but this is a great opportunity to cheat with perfectly good frozen puff pastry and a package of hot and spicy Tennessee Pride sausage!

Boxing Day Sausage Rolls

Make a pastry dough by combining 2 cups all-purpose flour, 4 tablespoons shortening (or lard for the hard-core baker) and a pinch of salt. Add 1 stick of cold butter, cut into ¼ inch cubes, and ½ cup cold water and slowly mix to form a sticky dough. Dust with flour, wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Make a simple sausage by combining 2 pounds ground pork with 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons chopped thyme, 2 tablespoons each of chopped parsley and sage, a grinding of black pepper, a pinch of cayenne to taste, ½ teaspoon ground coriander and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Working with wet hands, quickly combine the seasonings and meat. Divide the meat into 4 mounds and roll into 8-9 inch logs.

Roll the pastry dough into a 9×24 inch rectangle and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lay the sausage in the center of each piece and wrap the pastry around the sausage, sealing with a little water at the seam. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, arrange the rolls on top and brush each with an egg wash (1 beaten egg). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the sausage is cooked through. Cool for at least 10 minutes, cut logs into hors d’oeuvres size slices and serve.

Makes about 20-24 rolls                Wine pairing Try an aromatic Albarino or Gruner Veltiner

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