Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls

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Sydney’s best butcher shops are filled with a multitude of gourmet sausages for sale and we have often thought that these flavours would taste far better wrapped in butter and flour than bung. (Bung, if you’re wondering, is the name for sausage skin, which is made from animal intestine.)

Sydney’s backyards are always alive with pork and fennel sausages rolling on barbecues, so we knew this sausage roll would be popular, but we never dreamed it would be this popular. Sydneysiders are addicted to them. In Surry Hills we are often asked if narcotics feature as an ingredient. But, as you can see above, we only use the best produce we can find (and besides, the food costs would just not allow it).

Ingredients

  • 30 ml (1 fl oz/ tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 40 g ( oz/ tablespoons) fennel seeds, finely chopped
  • 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 150 g ( oz) brown onions, finely chopped
  • 150 g ( oz) celery, finely chopped
  • 150 g ( oz) carrots, finely chopped
  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) lean minced (ground) pork
  • 40 g ( oz) dry breadcrumbs
  • 20 g (¾ oz/1 tablespoon) salt
  • 15 g (½ oz/3 teaspoons) white pepper
  • 1 quantity puff pastry
  • egg wash, for brushing
  • fennel seeds, for sprinkling

Method

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the fennel seeds and thyme and stir together for 1 minute, or until aromatic. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the carrots and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are mushy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Put the pork mince into a large bowl and add the cooled vegetables, breadcrumbs, salt and white pepper. Using your hands, mix the meat quite forcefully for 3 minutes to thoroughly combine (this will also work the protein in the meat). At this stage it is best to roll up a little ball of the meat mixture and cook it in a hot frying pan for 2 minutes to check the flavour. You may find it is too salty, however once the mix is encased in pastry the saltiness should even out. But if you cannot taste the salt at all then you need to add a pinch or two more.

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. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

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 fennel seeds. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5) and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until they are a golden brown roll of steaming oozing goodness.

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