My word for today was “icy”
Master 5 years wanted to walk to preschool this morning and from inside our snug warm home looking out, it sounded like a great idea.
The sun was shining in all it’s ‘winter’s morning’ glory and in looked warm and inviting on the bones.
As I buckled Miss 18 months into the pram, I couldn’t help but get excited by the plan and quickly wanted to get going out of our shady street and into the sun.
However, looks can be deceiving and the dear old ‘warming sun’ was overshadowed by a screaming and blustery cold south-westerly wind that I am sure was blowing straight off the snow capped mountains somewhere!
No matter what speed I made the troops travel up the hill, we could not get warm and by the time we got to preschool I could barely make my fingers work to unlatch the fiddly safety gate at the preschool and the kids had ice cold noses and glowing red wind burnt cheeks.
So, a quick cuddle and kiss good-bye, and Miss 18 months and I were back off, into the cold wind and down the hill at a rapid speed.
The whole time down the hill I was thinking of tonight’s planned dinner and felt it was perfect for such a cold winters day.
I love a sausage roll and see no reason why it cannot be seen as more than just party food. Good quality mince, vegetables and herbs all wrapped in a pastry parcel – it sounds good to me.
I am not such a fan of beef mince and find it dry and bland. So I have been playing with an idea for sometime now for a chicken sausage roll that I can discreetly hide some vegetables in. So this is what I have come up with.
“chicken, pumpkin and leek sausage roll”
Firstly, I always like to use chicken thighs for my mince and blitz it in a food processor. The butcher will do this for you too. Otherwise, you can use packaged chicken mince. I just find chicken mince made from thighs is much moister and flavoursome – a must for this recipe.
I finely diced leeks and grated zucchini, pumpkin and apple – don’t want the kids detecting to many veg.
I then sautéed the leeks for a good 15 minutes over a low heat in a little butter and oil. Once they were soft i added the other vegetables and apple. Let this sauté off until it has all collapsed, smells sweet and no more liquid is coming out the vegetable mix (you do not want the vegetables in the final mix leaking water and making the pastry soggy)
Set this aside to cool completely before adding the chicken to it – we want no food poisoning here!
Once it is completely cool, add the chicken mince, fresh breadcrumbs, a little thyme and an egg. Season with salt and white pepper and mix together with your hands until you have a moist sausage meat mix
Then it is time to roll your sausage meat mix into its pastry casing. I used a frozen puff pastry which I defrosted and then cut each large square into two rectangles. In all I used three sheets for this recipe.
Using your hands lay the meat mix along the centre of the rectangles. With an egg wash (which is one egg whisked with a fork ), paint the edges of the pastry.
Roll the pastry rectangles up using the long side to completely encase the meat mix. Then cut the sausage rolls into what ever length you want. Wash the tops with a little more egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
At this stage you can bake in a moderate hot over (190 – 200 deg Celsius) for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and flakey OR place in a good quality container between baking paper and freeze for another time.
These above shown little samplers were devoured by the ‘stand in chef’ when he popped home from work for lunch.
I refrigerated the rest, uncooked, until dinner time
Here is the final outcome
A little souls serve
A big souls serve
The all important verdict?
Well, I am still not having a great deal of success moving the vegetables off the plate (except onto the floor) but the sausage rolls where a hit and both the kids loved them.
I take heart that some veggie goodies were hidden in the sausage rolls so their vegetable intake wasn’t completely non-existant.
I loved them – and could sit down to a plate of them any time. They freeze well, so maybe I should put some left overs away for the next icy day when I need warming up.
Thankfully tomorrow’s forecast is for showers – so we will drive to preschool.
Chicken, pumpkin and leek sausage rolls
500g chicken mince
1 medium zucchini, finely grated
1 cup grated pumpkin
1 leek (white part) finely diced
1 medium apple, cored and grated
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chopped thyme
100g (approx 2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs
salt and white pepper to season
Frozen puff pastry (i used three sheets for this recipe)
Extra 1 egg for egg wash
Sesame seeds for garnish
In a heavy based frypan, add butter and oil. Over a low-medium heat, saute the leeks for 10 -15 minutes or until they are soft and golden. Add the zucchini, pumpkin and apple. Cook for a further 10 minutes until all the moisture has evaporated out of the pan and the vegetables have collapsed. Set aside and cool completely.
When cool, add to a bowl along with the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, thyme, egg and seasoning. Mix together with your hands until well combined.
Defrost frozen puff pastry sheets. Cut each square of pastry in half to make two rectangles. Using your hands, place mince mixture along the middle of each rectangle. Wash the edges of the rectangle with the egg wash. Using the long edge, roll up the pastry around the meat. Press lightly to seal.
Cut long rolls into portions. Brush with a little more egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on a oven tray and bake at moderate – high temperature (180 – 200 deg celsius) for 30 minutes all until the sausage rolls are cooked and the pastry golden and flakey.