Commercial ones don't necessarily contain meat in any significant quantity and what meat there is, is likely to include tail, head, cheek, gristle, sinew, tongue, and lashings of fat. Of course there is the addition of a bewildering array of chemicals to prolong the "life" and make the low grade ingredients taste palatable - though I'm not sure how accurate that last word is.
To me, the defining aspect of a commercial sausage roll is the addition of gristle. It can be awkward at a party where the offerings are of the cheapest, nameless variety, to find a piece of gristle rolling around your mouth unable to be masticated. Do you swallow it, or somehow attempt to secrete it surreptitiously in a paper napkin? Almost worse is when a piece of gristle gets stuck between your teeth - never a good look when you try to fish it out with a fingernail ... and what do you do with it then?
My daughter enthusiastically shared the following vegetarian version of a sausage shaped roll with the delighted comment that a guest (a committed anti-vegetarian) came back for seconds, saying "These are soooo meaty, they're great!" and was lost for words to find out there wasn't a skerrick of meat in them.
The recipe comes from retromummy, and I can confidently vouch that they're easy to make, have great flavour and are able to deceive meat eaters, not that that was the point of the exercise, but it was interesting.
I don't understand why the mixture which doesn't look anything special in the kitchen whiz, looks remarkably like a commercially prepared sausage roll when it's cooked. The only thing lacking was the gristle - and the horrible taste.
Due to a completely disorganised day, I relented and used a commercially prepared puff pastry - next time I'll make my own non-puff pastry, using the same recipe as for the mushroom pie.
Nutty 'sausage' rolls
- an onion
- 100gram nuts - I used macadamia, pine, almonds and walnuts. Pecans would also be good.
- small bunch of herbs - I added parsley, coriander, oregano & vietnamese mint. Basil would have been a tasty addition, but I didn't have any.
- 2 cloves garlic
- sprinkle of chilli flakes
- a grind of pepper
- 3 eggs
- 150gram fetta (apparently tofu works well too - try the firm one as the silken variety might be too damp)
- 100gram oats - I like the mixed ones (oats, barley, wheat, rye, buckwheat)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I didn't have any, so used more oats)
- 3 sheets of puff pastry
- find Kitchen Whiz
- Buzz the onion and nuts
- Add the herbs and pepper and buzz briefly
- Plonk the wet ingredients in, followed by the oats a bit more slowly and buzz till the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs and sticks together easily
- Cut the puff pastry in half
- Place sausage shaped mounds of mixture along the length of the pastry
- Roll and brush with milk or beaten egg
- Place on baking tray (I used oven paper so they wouldn't stick)
- cut into bite sized portions
Bake at 200 degrees C for about 20 - 30 mins. Keep an eye on them because they go golden ... then suddenly burn.
- 225 g flour
- 115 g butter
- 1 tblsp fresh chopped oregano
- 1/4 cup cold water - use just enough to bind
- a grind of salt
Buzz in the kitchen whiz till combined. Roll thinly, then lay sausage shaped logs of mixture on the long edge. Roll to encase the mixture, place on baking tray, brush with milk, cut into bite sized portions and bake as above.
Sorry about the poor quality of the photo of the end result. My young guests were hungry and it seemed mean to ask them to wait so I could take a photo. Naturally, I then completely forgot so these have been in the frig overnight and don't look their best. But they still taste great cold with a swirl of tomato sauce or a dollop of chutney!