This unhealthy savoury recipe is a British delight—reet proper. Join us, then, as we tour through the history of this pastry dish.
It’s kind of the scotch egg of the pastry world. If that makes sense. Which it probably doesn’t.
What’s a Sausage Roll?
It’s a savoury snack feature sausage meat with pastry wrapped around it. Nutritional value zero, but comfort food at its finest.
These things are incredibly popular in the UK. We know lots of people who won’t think it an issue to stop at a shop to have a quick sausage roll snack.
At Greggs, for example (and this whole piece is king of like a free advertisement for them), they shift some 2.5 million sausage rolls a week here in Blighty.
That equals some 140 million sausage rolls a year.
Remarkable when you think about it—this thing is just a bit of sausage with pastry over it. And it rakes in the dough year in, year out.
What’s the History of Sausage Rolls?
Although it comes across as a modern convenience and fast food, the habit of wrapping foodstuffs in pastry dates back to antiquity.
Ancient Greeks and Romans got well stuck in there. Not that we’re saying they had the equivalent of a Greggs down the road, but the concept was there.
Once again for our research with a British national dish, its roots lie elsewhere. This one likely hails from France (bon!) circa 1800.
During the Napoleonic wars (check out The Duellists for some history there) the recipe seemed to hop over to England as it began appearing in London.
As the decades ticked by, us Brits adopted it as our own. It got a mention on 20th September 1809 in the Bury and Norwich Post. And there was a mentioned in The Times back in 1864.
That’s because a meat manufactured was fined under the Nuisances Removal Act (Amendment) Act 1863 (got to love those olden day health and safety measures) discovered a premises stocked with “unsound” meat.
And now it’s blossomed into a business driver.
In England, the humble sausage roll is as British as football hooliganism and getting mindlessly angry about Brexit (LEAVE MEANS LEAVE!) for no reason.
The Vegan Sausage Roll
In 2019 Greggs caused mayhem when it launched the vegan version of one of its signature dishes.
As the official site says of the vegan sausage roll:
“The most hotly debated sausage roll since, well… the sausage roll. Our new vegan friendly sausage roll has been designed to mirror some of the sausage roll’s classic features including 96 layers of light and crisp puff pastry but instead we wrap it around our own bespoke Quorn filling.
The launch follows strong consumer demand, including a petition by PETA last year, which was signed by more than 20,000 people.”
We kind of have to make this political, as many folks on the right had a bit of a meltdown about this thing. Such as former Daily Mail editor Piers Morgan.
It’s fair to say we’re not sure how you can get so angry about a sausage roll, but there we go. These are strange times we live in.
How Do You Make Sausage Rolls?
If you’re not near a Greggs, hey you’ll have to bake one yourself!
And we’ve got drop dead gorgeous, stunning, hunky, swoon worthy man bloke chef Jamie Oliver right here to help.
How do you make them? Erm… get some pastry together and a meat/meat alternative of your choice. Basic ingriedients:
Sausage meat/vegan meat
Wrap puff pastry around the meat
Glaze with beaten egg/milk
Bake the things
You might as well just sit down and eat a tub of butter, that’d probably be healthier.
But if you’re looking to impress your mates with your British cooking skill knowledge then we guess go all out for this savoury treat.
I make the vegan version of it and, accompanied by some veggies, it’s not even too unhealthy of a meal! :–)
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Good on you! I’ve yet to try the vegan version, but will eventually.
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