Sausage-Style Rolls with Tomato Dipping Sauce

So I volunteered to be one of the hosts (hostesses?) for a progressive dinner for charity.   A progressive dinner is where the appetizers, main and dessert courses are each served at different homes.  I'm doing the appetizers.  Since this fundraiser brings out major contributors, you don't just heat up store-bought frozen puffs and pass around a bottle of ketchup. These people deserve major bang for their donation bucks.  So I've been testing a few recipes that catch my eye here and there.  Such as these from-scratch sausage rolls, served with from-scratch tomato dipping sauce.

Try not to faint at the ingredients list.  While the list appears long, it all comes together a lot easier than you'd think.  Most of the list consists of spices most likely residing in your pantry, and all the measuring can be done in just a couple minutes, if even.  And everything up to the baking step can be done on a day at your own convenience, up to a month in advance.  Then pretty much all that's left is to turn on your oven.   Which you were going to do with those store-bought puffs anyway.

Still had a few bottles of ale that theHubby picked up for, aside from the obvious, my recent short ribs marinade.   The lightly spiced ale brought the perfect touch of complexity to the flavor.

I had enough leftover sausage mixture to make a couple servings of mini-meatballs.  They were pretty good with marinara sauce, but totally amazing in Lemon Ugly Sauce.

theHubby popped a baked puff into his mouth,  announced it tasted good and that I "should buy more of those sausages."  His mistaken belief was meant as a compliment.   I assume.

Sausage-Style Rolls with Tomato Dipping Sauce
Adapted from The Great Australian Cookbook
Yield: 32 Pieces
Note:  unbaked rolls can be frozen up to a month

8 oz. ground beef
8 oz. ground veal
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small or medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
8 drops liquid smoke (optional)
1/4 cup flavorful beer or ale
2 Tbl. corn (or potato) starch
2 pkg. (2 sheets each) frozen puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions
4 egg yolks
2 Tbl. cold water
1 Tbl. each black and white toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Tomato Dipping Sauce:
4 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1⁄3 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup flavorful beer or ale
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise

Place ground beef and veal on a cutting board.  Chop with a sharp knife for a minute or two to mince the meat a bit finer.   Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add remaining sausage ingredients up to and including the corn (or potato) starch. Use your hands to mix, but only until the ingredients are relatively evenly distributed (overworking the mixture will make the mixture more difficult to keep together during the rolling-out step).

Place a sheet of parchment each of two cookie sheets.  If your cookie sheet is large you might be able to get away with one cookie sheet.  Set aside.

Cut the first sheet of puff pastry in half lengthwise.  Keep the remaining sheet covered to prevent it from drying out.

Errant parsley decorates the completed log (top).
Roll about a quarter of the sausage mixture into a log about 3/4 inch in diameter, and a half-inch or so from each edge of the cut pastry (see photo above).   Place the log seam-side up along the center of the pastry.

Whisk together egg yolks and water.  Using a pastry brush, lightly apply the egg wash along the top edge and both side edges of the pastry. Bring the bottom edge of the pastry tightly over the log, then bring the opposite side over tightly to overlap.  Press edges and along the seam with the tines of a fork to seal (see photo above again). Carefully transfer log to prepared cookie sheet, then repeat 3 more times with remaining sausage mixture and puff pastry.   Cover and refrigerate up to a day any remaining mixture, if any, for future use.

Place cookie sheets with rolls in the freezer 2 hours minimum.  If not baking within a day, allow logs to freeze solid, then transfer into a 1 gallon freezer bag, seal and return to freezer up to a month.

When ready to bake the rolls, pre-heat oven to 400F. Remove  logs from freezer  and place on cutting board.  Brush tops with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with a mixture of black and white sesame seeds (if using).  Set aside to defrost slightly while oven is preheating.

When oven finishes preheating, slice each log into 8 pieces. Place rolls on parchment-lined cookie sheet pastry up in a single layer, with at least 1/2 inch between each to allow for rolls to puff up.  Bake  for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

That roll on the bottom didn't bake that way ... it fell over after removal from oven.
While rolls are baking, place all dipping sauce ingredients in a 2 quart saucepot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.   Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture has reduced and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove cinnamon stick and star anise; discard.   Process with a hand blender, or let cool and process in a food processor, until dipping sauce is smooth (or to preference).

I like my dipping sauce a little on the chunky side.
Allow rolls to cool for 5 minutes before serving with dipping sauce alongside.


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