Sausage Rolls with Apricots and Whisky-caramelised Onions

December 13, 2011


Sausage Rolls with 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 boss. So good 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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  • Avatar
    Reply Rachel K December 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Not fair! I’ve had breakfast and now I am hungry again! But what a fabulous idea for party nibbles. Thank you!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Ha ha, well, life isn’t fair Rachel 😉

  • Avatar
    Reply thelittleloaf December 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Whisky caramelized onions?! Amazing. I will have to make these for my boyfriend otherwise he may come knocking on my door… 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

      They’re lush! I’m going to add them to loads of different things. They’d be ace in a cheese sarnie I reckon.

  • Avatar
    Reply miss south December 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

    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…

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

      Ha ha! Well, you don’t really taste the fruit to be honest, it’s more of a sweetness.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie December 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Oooh. OOOH. Awesome. I love apricots with pork, they work so well together.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

      Me too. Fruity sweet porky goodness.

  • Avatar
    Reply Naomi December 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I have decided I am making these tomorrow although I need them in my belly NOW.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Brill, I hope you like them!

  • Avatar
    Reply Meatball Micky December 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    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.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      It does! Balance out the fattiness I mean. Clever fruit.

  • Avatar
    Reply Leigh December 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    wow! They look amazing. My gran used to make sausage rolls every christmas so for me this is a very evocative subject! Wonderful.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      You’ve got to have sausage rolls at Christmas! It’s the law.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sally - My Custard Pie December 15, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Christmas morning sorted. Bourbon a vanilla-scented step too far? Have ridiculous amounts of JD in the house.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Only one way to find out!

  • Avatar
    Reply Nickie C December 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    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 Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Brilliant, I’m so glad you enjoyed them and thanks for letting me know.

  • Avatar
    Reply Dan December 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Took a batch in to work this morning and they were gone in minutes.


    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 20, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Ace! Very glad to hear they went down well.

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    Reply James December 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    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 a big fan!

    Merry Christmas!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      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!

  • Avatar
    Reply I ? food and travel December 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    These look delicious – I’ve been looking for a few things to try over the festive period, so can’t wait to give this a go. Thanks for the post! x

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

      Thanks! Do let me know what you think if you try them.

  • Avatar
    Reply Monty February 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    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!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Fantastic, I’m really pleased you and your mates liked them! You’re right, lovely thing to do while away with a bunch of people.

  • Avatar
    Reply Monty March 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Man, I made these again for a work thing the other day. Still soo tasty and went down great, although couldn’t find apricots so tried cranberry. Still tasted great, and doing a second batch now for me :).

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen March 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Excellent! Really pleased you and your colleagues enjoyed them! I can’t stand cranberries but good improv nonetheless!

  • Avatar
    Reply Becky Goodall October 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm


    I’ve just been having a look through your blog and I wondered if you would be interested in trying out our products.

    We are an independent food company from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, and specialise in bangers, burgers and balls! Our entire range is gluten free, using pork, chicken and beef. We are currently in the process of launching our vegetarian range too.

    We have been running for 3 years now and our products are available in Tesco, Asda and Waitrose. We travel across the country doing shows too.

    I would love to send you some of products so you can try them? Please can you let me know an address I can post them to.

    I shall look forward to your response.


    Becky Goodall
    Heck Food

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