This time of year is all about preserving the bounty of produce on offer. Whether it be foraged fruits that line hedgerows, country lanes and gardens, or harvested veggies from abundant allotments, I struggle to keep up in the kitchen, trying to make the most of these beautifully vibrant, fresh summer ingredients.
The plum season seems to be drawing to a swift end as the weather has quickly turned and the trees start to drop their fruits at rapid rates. Greengages are my favourite fruit variety from the plum family, offering a more earthy flavour that makes them ideal for both sweet and savoury cooking.
Originating from France, greengages are often referred to as the ‘wild’ plum and can be regularly found in both domestic gardens and wild environments. With a good yield and arguably the best-flavoured of any plum variety, greengages normally make for rich pickings well into september.
Although recognised as a dessert plum, their bitter-sweet palate makes them ideal for chutney and jam, helped along with their naturally high pectin levels. To encourage their earthy, sweet flavours, greengages pair perfectly with new season apples, particularly hardy, British varieties like Bramley, Braeburn and Cox.
So with some delicious sausage meat from my local butcher, and pork’s classic flavour pairing with British fruit seemingly playing on my mind, I had came up with a traditional picnic snack that seemed to ‘roll’ all these delights into one delicious West Country mouthful – cheese and chutney sausage rolls.
Juicy, flavoursome, sausage meat laced with a mature, crumbly cider and herb cheddar, encased in chutney stuffed, golden puff pastry…could I use any more adjectives to describe this edible delight?!
Obviously, this recipe is all about the spiced greengage, apple and walnut chutney that seems to elevate a somewhat simple sausage roll! Luckily for us all, the recipe makes more than enough for your rolls, so store it in a jar, pop it in the fridge and you’ll be enjoying the delights of greengages well into the autumn!
- 1 medium-sized white onion, finely chopped
- 3 tsp mixed spice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 600g greengages, destoned and roughly chopped
- 400g apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 70g walnuts, chopped
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 190g granulated sugar
- 425ml cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 600g sausage meat
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 100g strong cheese (I used a cider and herb cheddar)
- Packet of ready-rolled puff pastry (approx. 320g)
- 1 egg
- Poppy or sesame seeds
- Sweat down the onion along with a knob of butter in a large, heavy-bottom pan. When softened, add the spices to the pan and heat them for a minute. Add the greengages, apple, walnuts, sugars and cider vinegar before slowly bringing to the boil.
- When the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the chutney mixture has reduced to a thick consistency, season to taste, remove from the heat, remove the hard spices and spoon into sterilised jars – the sausage roll recipe does not make use of all of the chutney, you will have spare.
- In a large bowl combine the sausage meat, mustard, parsley, crumbled cheese and plenty of salt and pepper. Lay out the pastry, and when cool, spoon on approximately 3 tbsp of the chutney and spread it out leaving a large boarder to avoid overspill. Place the meat mixture in a large sausage shape down the centre and fold over the pastry to enclose the meat. Cut away excess pastry but leave a 5cm run of pastry to seal the sausage rolls. Using the back of a fork, seal the pastry ‘overhang’ before cutting into 8 large sausage rolls.
- Place on a lined baking tray, brush each one with egg then, with a sharp knife, give each roll two slashes to allow the pastry to rise. Finally sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds before placing the a pre-heated oven at gas 4/180C. Bake for 20 – 25minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy.
- Eat warm straight out the oven or allow to cool, eat cold and store in the fridge. Can be gently re-heated in a medium-heated oven for 15 minutes.