Lamb, Harissa and Almond Sausage Rolls

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This sausage roll is a great mix of texture and flavour. When you bite into one of these rolls you should first smell the lamb, then taste the sweetness of the red capsicum with a little heat from the chilli, feel the crunch of the almonds and the squishy sweetness of the currants. All in all, quite yummy really.

Harissa is a north African chilli paste made traditionally from peppers, garlic, coriander and tomatoes. Ours is not strictly traditional but not far from it. This sausage roll also seems to have a deep affinity with pregnant women around Sydney. It is best to make the harissa first, which is very easy but requires some regular pot stirring.

Ingredients

Harissa (makes 400 g/14 oz)

  • 5 red capsicums (peppers), seeded, membrane removed and finely chopped
  • 350 g (12 oz) brown onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 small red chillies, finely chopped
  • teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 15 g (½ oz/3 teaspoons) smoked paprika
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) water
  • 75 g ( oz) blanched almonds
  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) minced (ground) lamb
  • 75 g ( oz) couscous
  • 110 g ( oz/¾ cup) currants
  • 20 g (¾ oz/1 tablespoon) salt
  • g ( oz/½ teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quantity puff pastry
  • egg wash, for brushing
  • poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Method

To make the harissa, put the capsicum, onion, garlic, chilli, coriander seeds and paprika in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 10–20 minutes, or until reduced to a thick paste. As the mixture begins to reduce, the sugar will come out of the capsicum and will start sticking to the bottom of the pan, so you will need to keep a close eye on it and stir regularly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Weigh and set aside 350 g (12 oz/ cups) of the harissa to use in the sausage roll filling.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Put the almonds on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Roughly chop and add to a large mixing bowl with the lamb, couscous, currants, harissa, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the meat quite forcefully for 3 minutes, to thoroughly combine (this will also work the protein in the meat). The currants and couscous soak up the juices of the mix and will bind the filling together.

Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle, about 92 x 32 cm (36 x 12¾ inches). Cut the pastry into six rectangles about 15 x 30 cm (6 x 12 inches) each.

Divide the filling mixture into six even-sized portions. On a clean work surface, roll each portion out into a 30 cm (12 inch) log with a 3 cm ( inch) diameter. Place each log lengthways in the centre of a pastry rectangle and brush one long edge with egg wash. Firmly fold the pastry over, pressing to enclose the log tightly, leaving the ends open. Cut each roll into two even-sized pieces and place on baking trays lined with baking paper, seam side down. Brush the top of each roll with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5) and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until golden brown.

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