Thursday, 29 December 2011

Turkey Sausage Rolls

Merry Christmas, everyone - we did it! In a tour of three different family homes, we ate two turkey dinners in one afternoon and another the following day. Oh god, just thinking of it again makes me feel slightly nauseous. Don't get me wrong, they were all completely delicious - and with families as big and as scattered as ours, this was the only way that we could satisfy (almost) everyone - but still, there's been a lot of turkey. And stuffing. And sausages, bacon, sprouts, roast potatoes, parsnips, chocolate and gravy. My clothes are distinctly tighter than they were last week. God, no wonder everyone goes on diets in the New Year.

Anyway, before diner's remorse kicks in and while we're still on holiday, there's leftover turkey to be eaten! Does that exclamation mark convey enough enthusiasm? What do you mean, you're sick of bloody turkey? Look, I've already had it sandwiched and pied and there's still some left. Which means embracing the next festive tradition (after gluttony and buying too-much-food) - turkey rolls.

This is another family recipe which my mum and I have been making every Christmas for as long as I can remember. This year, controversially, we experimented with a few tweaks and made what were called, and I do not exaggerate, "the best turkey rolls ever" (copyright: my Dad, yesterday). I feel this is a good omen for the coming year. Or at least, a clear indication of how to make the New Year better - just add fat.

Specifically, we added some sausage meat. In previous years our turkey rolls have just consisted of minced leftover meat, bound with a bit of gravy, onion and mushroom, and wrapped in shortcrust pastry (never puff!). And they were always tasty, but just..a bit dry. A bit crumbly. A bit "I need some ketchup/baked beans/pickle/anything faintly wet or this will become a festive version of the cream cracker challenge".

This year, with the addition of plenty of sausage meat, the finished rolls were a triumph - crisp pastry, rich, succulent filling and plenty of flavour. And the best thing? You can put them straight into the freezer and give yourself a break from bloody turkey. Is anyone else really craving steamed vegetables and fish now? Just me?

 Turkey Sausage Rolls

- leftover cooked turkey (the more brown meat the better. We had about three good handfuls of meat)
- 6 sausages, peeled of their skins. Yes, this bit is quite gross, but also weirdly satisfying.
- any leftover stuffing, chestnuts, gravy, or all three. You'll need some kind of goop so if you don't have any leftover gravy then I'd be tempted to make up some bisto.
- an onion
- a handful of mushrooms. Some dried ones, soaked, would be nice here too if you want a stronger mushroom taste
- an egg
- salt, pepper
- a splash of worcester sauce
- a pack of all-butter shortcrust pastry (or make your own, but we were using up stuff from the freezer)
- flour for rolling out the pastry
- another egg, beaten, for glazing the rolls.

Preheat the oven to about 180C and line a couple of baking trays with parchment or greaseproof paper.

The easy way to do this is with a food processor, the hard way is with lots of chopping and stirring. Either way, finely chop the onion and chestnuts first, then chuck in the turkey, the sausage meat, the stuffing, the gravy (not too much at first - you want the final result to be moist, not soup), the mushrooms, the egg, salt, pepper and worcester sauce. Then pulse cautiously just until everything is chopped and well combined. Go slowly, you don't want a slurry.

Roll out the pastry onto a well floured surface and cut down the middle into two long rectangles. Form long sausage shapes of meaty mixture down the middle of each rectangle, and brush one of the edges with a little beaten egg or water. Then roll the other long edge of the pastry over the meat and over again onto the egg or water-brushed edge, so that you've got one long, pastry-wrapped roll. 

Cut into rolls about 7cm long (3inches) and transfer to the baking sheets. Cut two slits into each roll then brush them in beaten egg. Bake for about half an hour, until golden and crunchy-edged. Eat with plenty of green salad - remember salad? - and some crunchy, sour pickles.

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