Sausage rolls with apricots and whisky-caramelised onions

Last year, I was all about the quick and easy sausage rolls. This year, I have about a third of the spare time and yet I’m spending it caramelising onions with whisky. Such is the power of procrastination. Still, they’re no bother once you get them on and I’m definitely going to make a massive batch next time, to add to pies, sandwiches and, ooh! HOTDOGS!

Anyway, they’re incredible in these sausage rolls too, together with re-plumped dried apricots and a good pinch of chipotle chilli flakes to play off that smoky thing going on with the whisky. At first I was worried the rolls might be a little on the sweet side with the onions and fruit but god damn if they weren’t just plain sexy. So sexy in fact that we ate all 12 between the two of us in the space of a few hours and the boyfriend claimed they were the best sausage rolls he’s ever eaten. High praise indeed.

Sausage Rolls with Whisky-caramelised Onions and Apricots (makes about 12)

3 regular, brown-skinned onions, chopped in half and sliced
500g good quality plain sausage meat
A good slosh of whisky (I mean generous)
12 dried apricots
320g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
1 generous teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
A generous pinch of chipotle flakes
1 egg, beaten
Butter, for caramelising the onions

First, make the onions. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onions plus a good pinch of salt, tossing them around to coat them evenly. Set the pan to the lowest heat and put a lid on, leaving a small gap at one side. Let the onions cook down for at least an hour but preferably longer, stirring occasionally. They’re ready when they’re very soft, golden and not too wet. At this stage, turn up the heat and add a really good slosh of whisky (the amount you add obviously depends on how much you want them to taste of whisky) and let it bubble down until there’s almost no liquid left. The onions are now ready, so set them aside on a plate to cool completely (this happens faster if you spread them out in a thin layer).

Soak the apricots in warm water for 20 minutes or so, then dice them. When you’re ready to make the sausage rolls and the onions are cool, preheat the oven to 200C. Give the onions a quick chop then add them to the sausagemeat mix, along with the thyme leaves, chipotle flakes, the apricots and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Preheat a frying pan and make a tiny patty from the sausage meat mixture; fry it in the oil and taste it for seasoning. You may want to add more salt or chilli, depending on how it tastes.

When you’re satisfied with the mix, unwrap the pastry and lay it out on a lightly floured surface. It should be almost the right size, but I like to roll it out just a tiny bit thinner, making it easier to wrap around the meat. Cut the rectangle into two, lengthways, then make two long sausages with the meat down the centre of each strip of pastry. Brush one side of each pastry strip with the beaten egg, then fold each one over to make two long sausage rolls. Cut into two inch pieces and snip each twice in the stop, using scissors. Brush each with more beaten egg and cook on a baking tray for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

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26 thoughts on “Sausage rolls with apricots and whisky-caramelised onions

  1. Finally got round to cooking these at the weekend. Was a great thing to do while staying in a cottage with friends, and they went down a treat! Am looking forward to making these again – and lots of other stuff on this blog. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Helen

    Wow, these look immense and are already ear marked for Xmas Day elevenses but I dont think I’ll get hold of any chipotle flakes in time..silly question but would normal chili flakes do instead? Or smoked paprika?

    Looking forward to your blog in 2012..im a big fan!

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi James. It’s not a silly question at all, don’t worry! I’d go either with normal chilli flakes (be sparing though, it’s supposed to be a background thing or just leave them out altogether. I’d be tempted to do the latter actually, it really won’t matter. Happy Christmas!

  3. Started these today and finished making them tonight for dinner (we’re classy like that!) Fan-tabulous! The hardest part was the onions as mine caught and I had to pick out bits of burnt before I added the whisky but tastiness still ensued. My Kenwood mini-chopper was perfect for this and made fast work of the apricots and the cooled onions. So much better than shop-bought and reminded me of sausage rolls from http://www.outsidertart.com. Thanks for sharing!

  4. great idea – I must try these for Christmas. I’ve tried sultanas and grated apple before in sausage rolls – I find the sweetness balances out the fattiness of the sausage meat and pastry.

  5. I don’t really like whiskey or fruit with meat and yet I found myself bookmarking this recipe instantly. Would you look at those beauties? They’d be perfect for a party.

    A party where I just invite myself and sit round in a haze of pastry crumbs…

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