Sausage & Pear Festive Plait

This recipe is perfect for easy-entertaining or a family meal. It makes one giant sausage roll, which is ideal for banquet-style dining where you can put it in the middle of the table and people can slice off however much they choose.

It is great straight out of the oven and piping-hot, but I can’t stress enough how amazing this tastes cold! I was guilty of standing in an open fridge the next day, slicing off a sliver or two, munching away and feeling very happy with myself.

If you wish, you can make a smaller version with less pastry, but I’d recommend making the full amount of meat-mixture. You can turn some of it into meatballs or burger patties and put it in the freezer for a rainy day. Or you could even use the mixture to stuff the neck of your Christmas turkey! It makes an amazing stuffing, either cooked in a dish or rolled into balls. Bon Appetit!

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RECIPE: Sausage & Pear Festive Plait

FLAVOUR PROFILE: Rich and meaty pork sausage with festive spices, sweet cranberry and crispy puff pastry.

GOES GREAT WITH: If you’re having it for lunch, it would be lovely with some cold pickles, chutney, cheese and fresh tomatoes. For an evening meal, go all out and have some hand-cut chips or fries. Maybe a bit of coleslaw? Or even some mac and cheese would be amazing!

MAKES: 1 large (42cm) sausage roll, serving 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25g (0.8oz)  BUTTER
  • 2 small RED ONIONS, finley diced
  • 2 cloves GARLIC, minced
  • 500g (18oz) SAUSAGE MEAT (remove the meat from the casings of your favourite sausages)
  • ½ tsp. DRIED THYME
  • 1 PEAR, peeled and finely diced
  • 75g (2.6oz)  FRESH BREADCRUMBS
  • ¼ LEMON, juice only
  • ½ tsp. GROUND CARDAMOM
  • ¼ tsp. GROUND NUTMEG
  • ½ tsp. GROUND GINGER
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. CRANBERRY SAUCE
  • 25cm x 42cm rectangular sheet ALL-BUTTER PUFF PASTRY
  • 1 tbsp. MILK, for glazing

METHOD:

  1. In a small frying pan, melt the BUTTER and add the RED ONIONS and GARLIC. Cook over a medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Take off the heat and leave aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the SAUSAGE MEAT, DRIED THYME, PEAR, FRESH BREADCRUMBS, LEMON JUICE, GROUND CARDAMOM, GROUND NUTMEG and GROUND GINGER. Also tip in the cooled ONION-MIXTURE.
  3. The best way to mix this all together is to get your hands in and give it a good squish. Try and mix it so that everything is evenly distributed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180c. Un-roll the ALL-BUTTER PUFF PASTRY. Leave it on the baking paper under-sheet. Spread the CRANBERRY SAUCE along the centre length-wise, so that it will be under the meat.
  5. Scoop the meat-mixture on top of the cranberry sauce. Press it into a roll that runs along the centre third of the pastry.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal strips down each side of the pastry flaps, roughly 3 cm thick. It should look like wonky piano keys. Now you want to braid the pastry: Take the first strip and gently pull it over the meat. Then, do the same with the strip on the opposite side, crossing it over and pressing it snugly next to the upper strip. Continue all the way down the sausage, working alternatively, left and right. With any spare pastry, you can use it to decorate the top of the sausage-roll. I used a cookie-cutter to stamp out some snowflakes and stars.
  7. Transfer the sausage-roll (still on the baking paper) to a baking sheet. Brush the pastry with some MILK, to glaze. Put in the middle of the oven and cook for 45 minutes @ 180c. Enjoy hot or cold.

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