Several years ago, I posted a fancier version of pigs in blankets two ways—in one I had made homemade sausage. In America, “pigs in blankets” can refer to either a sausage baked into a bun—what the British would call a sausage roll or bun—or a breakfast sausage rolled up into a pancake. Today, I am switching chicken breakfast sausages for pork.
With chicken sausages, my wife is always concerned that they are cooked all of the way through—once you have had salmonella you will never take food safety for granted again. as a result I precooked the sausage, before baking it into the bun. This extra step had the added advantage of plenty of extra flavor resulting from the Maillard reaction.
Note: For my blankets I simply used my standard biscuit dough.
Karl’s Chicks in Blankets (AKA Sausage Rolls)
6 chicken breakfast sausages
2½ cups flour, AP
2 Tbs. potato flour (starch)
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2+ Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar, separate uses
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, semi-frozen
1 large egg
1+ cup whole milk, separate uses (I use lactose free)
1. Fry the chicken sausages until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
Tip: Rotate the sausages as they are cooking so that they brown on all sides.
2. Set the sausages aside to cool completely.
3. Put a stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, until it is semi-frozen.
Tip: Putting a whole stick of butter in the freezer gives me a handle to keep my fingers away from the grater blades as I shave off six tablespoons.
Note: You do not want the butter to be frozen solid, because it then becomes hard to grate.
4. Sift the flour, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and sugar several times into a large bowl.
Tip: Repeated sifting helps distribute the ingredients evenly through the mix.
Note: If you have not blended your sugar to break up the bits of zest, you may need to add the sugar after sifting, as the zest will get caught in the flour sifter.
5. Using a box grater, grate ¾ of the stick of frozen butter into the flour mixture.
Tip: Half way through, stir the butter shreds into the flour, so that they do not clump together.
6. Use a pastry cutter, to break the butter shreds into tiny bits.
Tip: Many recipes have you cut the butter into large lumps and then you break them up with the pastry cutter. While this eventually works, the heat created by the repeated chopping starts to warm the butter. With the frozen butter shreds you only have to chop the butter a few times to get a thorough mix.
7. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Note: I used to bake these biscuits at 425º F, but I found that the tops over-browned before the center was cooked through. Lower and slower works for me.
8. Put the egg in a large measuring cup and lightly scramble it.
Tip: I use a fork.
9. Measure one cup of milk and add some of it to the egg.
10. Scramble the milk/egg mixture well.
Tip: This allows you to scramble the egg well, without splashing it all over.
11. Add the rest of the milk and mix it in.
12. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture.
Tip: I have found that it is easier to add more flour to dry out a “wet” dough than to add liquid to a “overly dry” dough.
Note: Keep the measuring cup close to hand. You will add some more milk to it to brush on to the tops of the biscuits.
13. Use a spatula to combine the milk and flour mixtures, until most of the dry flour has been incorporated into the dough.
Tip: Unless you have cold hands—like my wife—you want to handle the dough as little as possible. Warm hands—like mine—will melt the butter.
14. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 7-8 times, until there is no visible dry flour.
Tip: Flour your hands and the kneading board well.
Note: If necessary, add a bit more flour to make a soft dough.
15. Form the dough into a ball and roll the dough out into a 14 X14 inch square.
Tip: Flour your rolling pin well, so that it does not stick and cause tears in the dough sheet.
Note: The dough sheet will be less than ¼ inch thick when you have it all rolled out.
16. Starting at the edge closest to you, fold one third of the dough sheet over the middle third.
Tip: You may need to use a bread board scraper to free the dough from your kneading surface.
17. Take the edge that is farthest from you and fold that third over the first two layers.
Tip: This is called a letter-fold.
Note: You will now have a rectangular piece of dough, three layers thick.
18. Letter fold the outer edges of this rectangle in to the center.
Note: This will produce a thick four inch square of dough nine layers thick.
19. Let the dough rest for two minutes.
Tip: This gives the gluten bonds time to relax and makes it easier to roll out again.
20. While the dough is resting, line a large lipped baking sheet with parchment paper.
Tip: I used to grease my baking sheets, but the biscuits tended to stick and burn. The parchment paper needs no grease.
21. Re-flour your board and roll the dough square into another 14 X14 inch square.
Note: Within each layer of dough, the cold butter will be squished into thin flakes, trapped in a gluten web.
22. Letter-fold the dough sheet again.
Tip: First the top and bottom edges and then the sides.
Note: You will now have a four inch square of dough with 91 layers.
23. Roll the dough out to one half inch thick.
Note: This will be about an eight inch square of dough.
24. Cut six biscuits out with a 2 inch biscuit cutter.
Tip: I am making only six sausage rolls, for the remaining dough, I made regular biscuits. If you are feeding more people—or want leftovers—feel free to make a dozen sausage rolls.
Note: It is important to use a sharp-edged biscuit cutter to cut out your biscuits. I used to use a jar lid as a biscuit cutter. The dull edge of the lid pinched the layers of dough together around the edge of the biscuit—instead of slicing through each layer. Instead of being free to rise nice and evenly, the biscuits puffed up in the center and warped around the edges as the layer’s edges stuck together.
25. Taking the biscuits one at a time, roll them out into an oval, about 7 inches long and four inches wide.
26. Place a sausage in the center of the oval and fold the ends over the sausage.
27. Fold the side edges over the sausage to seal in the meat.
28. Place the roll—seam side down—on the baking sheet about an inch apart.
29. Brush the tops of the rolls with milk.
30. Bake at 400° F, on the middle rack, for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Tip: Rotate the baking sheet after 10 minutes.
31. Transfer the sausage rolls to a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool.
32. Serve warm.