Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sausage plait

I'm having a ind of dinner party thing next weekend, and I've been wanting to make a beef wellington for ages. However puff pastry is involved & since I've been making shortcrust variations recently I thought I might be tempting fate with a whole heap of hubris. As they say practice makes perfect, but what to make with my puff pastry ? How about a cheap version of the beef ? A sausage plait is one of those English dishes that is cheap filling & great hot or cold. You can go the Delia route and stir onions into store sausage (or force) meat  then wrap it up in Jus-roll or similar or you can go the whole hog & make it from scratch.
Sausage meat can't be that hard can it ? Apparently not, its meat (pork is my choice),fat, spices & filler. I asked the butcher about the meat and he recommended a mix of shoulder & belly & make sure I used the fat.
That's it diced ready to go through the mincer. The question of filler is a vexed one, but several bits of reading pointed to breadcrumbs being necessary to get the required sausagey (actually "banger") texture, so I blitzed a slice of stale bread & some garden sage, with a teaspoon of colemans mustard and then stirred it into the meat before running it through the mincer a second time. I now had reasonable sausage meat, into the fridge it goes to rest & firm up. Time to sort out the puff pastry. A couple of easy recipes for what is technically a rough puff pastry are simple to get hold of. Though I disagree with Gordon Ramsey about pie, he knows what he is doing and his pastry looked like a reasonable job. With puff pastry, the rolling & folding to create layers is pretty important, I actually added a couple of extra roll & fold steps figuring it'd do no harm. I left that to rest whilst I turned my sausage meat into plait filling with some onion and a geneous splash of "King of Oudh's" sauce (its a posh version of lea & perrin's with a fruitier taste & a touch less pepperiness). Then it was time to roll out the plait and get the meat into it.

I found I had a little too much of everything to make a manageable plait, so I trimmed things off to make sausage rolls with the left overs. Then came the plaiting. I really am not good at this kind of thing & the book wasn't much help (simply work left to right creating a plait along the meat).
So the plaiting was well pretty wonky (thank goodness thats not going to be needed for the wellington as it does distract at least a little from the dish). My oven is a bit random at times and having done a bit of cooking earlier the suggested gas 8 was a bit full on for the pastry, so Iturned it back & used my trusty Fantast to let me know when the pork had reached a reasonable temperature. Once it was done I let it rest whilst I steamed some leeks & mashed some potato to go with it. It turned out pretty well for a hot & filling supper, plus there is enough to eat cold for lunch at work tomorrow, which will be pretty nice.
Like I said, a little wonky but very tasty.  

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