My sister and I were allowed to order our lunch at school (rather than bring sandwiches from home) once a week, and quite often I'd order a sausage roll. These moreish little pastries also used to make appearances, in cocktail form, at birthday parties and other celebratory events, always accompanied by a little jug of tomato sauce. Of course, the sausage rolls of my past contained indeterminate meaty bits, and I haven't eaten one of those for over thirty years. Nowadays I make these delicious little morsels, and based on my dim recollections, these are a very close alternative, except of course, much tastier!
I have adapted my sausage roll recipe from this one, which is itself an adaptation of a vegetarian recipe. The main adjustments I've made are to use chickpeas instead of tofu, which works just as well and is a lot cheaper, and I've added gluten flour (vital wheat gluten) to create the perfect meaty texture.
The great thing about this recipe is that using ready-made puff pastry makes them very easy to make, they can be frozen and reheat very well, so they are the ultimate snacky convenience food and go down very well at parties. Yet served with roast potatoes and a salad, or mashed potatoes, gravy and greens, they make a delicious main meal. So versatile!
Even if you're not making sausage rolls, try my little "egg" wash recipe for breads and pastries. It adds a little golden shine, and seeds really do stick well to it; much better than just using soy milk alone. Don't go overboard with the turmeric though. The aim is to add a little colour without perceptible turmeric flavour.
VEGAN SAUSAGE ROLLS
2-3 tablespoons oil
2 brown onions, very finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, very finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teasp dried thyme
1/2 teasp dried oregano
1/2 teasp dried rosemary
2 heaped teaspoons stock powder (I use Massel Chicken Stock Powder, it's vegan)
2 rounded teaspoons of Marmite (or other yeast extract)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted in a moderate oven
2 slices day-old wholemeal bread
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 generous sprigs of fresh parsley, stalks removed
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
1 cup dry chickpeas, cooked (or a can of chickpeas, drained)
added non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4.5 sheets frozen puff pastry (such as Borg's, which is vegan)
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons arrowroot flour
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Makes 54 cocktail size or 18 full size sausage rolls.
The sausage mixture:
In a saucepan, gently saute the finely chopped vegetables and dried herbs in your oil of choice (I use extra virgin olive oil), until softened, adding the stock powder and Marmite. The mixture will have quite a bit of moisture in it, but that's good, you don't want to cook it down until it's dry.
Meanwhile, place the toasted nuts (make sure they've cooled down) and slices of bread, roughly ripped into pieces, into the food processor and process into rough crumbs. Add the nutritional yeast and parsley and pulse a few times until the parsley is chopped. Put the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Next add the oats and gluten flour (vital wheat gluten) to the food processor and pulse a few times. The oats should still have some texture and not be reduced to powder. Add to the mixing bowl with the nut mixture and combine. That's the dry ingredients done!
Process the chickpeas in the food processor, again leaving a little texture rather than pureeing to a paste. If the mixture is a bit too thick to process evenly, add a dash of non-dairy milk.
Combine the chickpeas and the cooked vegetables with the dry ingredients. Season to taste. The sausage mixture should be quite moist and sticky, but not too sloppy. I find I need to add a few dashes of soy milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you like) as I mix, to achieve the right consistency. If the mixture is too firm, the resulting sausage rolls will be too dry when they're baked. The mixture also stiffens a bit as it sits there while you're making the sausage rolls in batches.
Forming the sausage rolls:
Take a couple of sheets of puff pastry out of the freezer at a time and as soon as they've thawed a little, cut the sheets into quarters. Moisten your hands so the sausage mixture won't stick, and take a generous spoonful and form it into a sausage shape the length of the pastry quarter, laying it down the middle of the square. Roll into a sausage roll shape, moistening one edge of the pastry with water to seal. Turn it over so the join is on the bottom, then carefully cut the roll into thirds if you're making cocktail size rolls, or leave as is if making full size. Make a few incisions in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife (only one cut for cocktail size), or pierce with a fork.
For the "egg wash", whisk or combine in a shaker all but the seeds. Brush onto each sausage roll, and sprinkle with the seeds, if using. Then bake the sausage rolls in a pre-heated moderate oven (180C/355F) on baking paper lined trays, until golden and crisp, turning the rolls at intervals, if necessary, to make sure they cook evenly. Then cool on a wire rack if not eating right away.
They will keep for several days in the fridge, and can be frozen, They reheat very well. Serve with tomato sauce (ketchup).