Messing with Tradition

The main problem with snacks is that the best tend to be regional, which is all well and good if you still happen to live about twenty miles from where you grew up and formed your first impressions of the world, but heartbreaking when you live three orders of magnitude further away, as I do. Every now and then I get such a yearning for good old Australian junk food I can’t stand it. By which I mean traditional, dyed-in-the-wool, fair dinkum Aussie cuisine such as Greek souvlaki, British fish and chips, or Chinese dim sum. Or of course, sausage rolls, a food which is so trashy it’s actually best bought at railway station cafeterias.

A sausage roll is just another version of the great Australian tradition of wrapping meat in pastry. This recipe runs the risk of missing the point by jazzing things up a bit, but I think the risk is worth it. If elk is hard to come by in your neighbourhood, beef or lamb are fair substitutes.


Elk Sausage Rolls

250g ground elk

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground elk, jalapeno, blue cheese and salt and pepper. Mix well by hand. Meanwhile, thaw out the puff pastry until just soft enough to handle. Make an egg wash by beating together egg and a couple of tablespoons of water.


Cut the puff pastry into two rectangular strips and brush with egg wash. Using your hands, make two long sausages of the elk mixture and place one on each strip of pastry. Roll up and press to seal the edges. Cut each one into three (or more) sausage rolls. Brush with egg wash, place on a baking paper lined tray, and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.


12 comments to Messing with Tradition

  • War Pig

    I happen to LIKE sausage rolls, whether pork or venison or something else, as yours. You can get elk through mail order but it is prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, I have some venison left from my last hunt which may serve; lean roasts, sure, but add a little sausage and it has enough fat to serve. I ate the last of the deer burger i August. :-(

    I make sausage rolls usually with wild boar/feral hog. Plenty of those around and they’re an invasive species to boot. Mom used to pinch the ends closed and deep fry the rolls. I don’t do that unless I have the deep fryer going for something else, and using puff pastry it probably would not do well in a deep fryer. Mom used rolled out biscuit dough.

    For the boar sausage rolls I mix up the peppers. Poblanos, habaneros, jalapenos or peperincinos, depending on what I have handy. Blue cheese sounds good. I’ve not used that before, I generally use jack or even chopped Velveeta. You’re full of good ideas, and this is getting to be sausage roll weather here in Ohio. (We may have snow showers Saturday)

    I’ll try yours when I thaw out the next venison roast. I haven’t used puff pastry for rolls before, I use rolled out biscuit dough because that’s the way mom made them. Your idea sounds much better. I also never thought of using elk in these. Good idea. I know someone who may trade me an elk roast for some venison and boar. He’s a doctor and goes elk hunting every other year.

    I’m always looking for something different in foods and snacks and you fellows provide plenty of ideas. Thanks.

  • My lovely wife bought some wild boar bratwurst the other day and I have left over puff pastry. That may be lunch!

  • Okay, wild boar bratwurst sausage rolls blow elk out of the water. Save your elk.

  • War Pig

    Boar is good if it is free range (wild/hunted). The farmed boar taste an awful lot like regular pork. Wild boar eats about everything and they are awfully fond of acorns (like the Spanish Black pigs) as well as hickory and hazel nuts. As you know, wild swine also are crazy about mushrooms/truffles. My brother has a lot of oak trees and they attract not only squirrels and deer, but wild swine (actual boar and also feral pigs) as well. We take a boar/feral pig whenever we want as they are nuisance animals although dangerous to hunt on foot. I still prefer to hunt them on foot with a bow & spear or with a pistol as it is more of a challenge. Give the boar a chance at you. He deserves that much. I believe actual wild boar tastes better and is better for you than feedlot pigs. Just my opinion. I know the bacon off boar, when smoked, is food of the gods.

  • Wild boar bacon, eh? Say no more.

  • Joal

    Yeah it’s messing with tradition, but I can live with that. I’ll try it with roo mince.

  • Muzhik

    @Joal, “roo mince”? Is that what I think it is?

    I don’t know which affects me more: the thought of eating a national symbol, or the thought of eating something that looks like a rat on steroids.

    (As for “national symbols”, I always thought Benjamin Franklin had a point in wanting the wild turkey as America’s national symbol. This is after years of talking with guys who have spent those years TRYING to hunt wild turkeys. Smart bird, that.)

    Has anyone ever tried to domesticate ‘roos to raise for their meat and pelts, or are they more like nuisance animals that you kill when you have to?

  • @Muzhik, yes, roo mince is what you think it is. Most kangaroo meat is wild harvested because no one has figured out a way to herd the critters. Plus, can you imagine how high the fences would need to be? Seriously though, roo meat is very lean, as you might expect, and quite delicious.

  • War Pig

    Yes it is, and emu tastes rather like beef to me. Kangaroo leather makes for fantastically comfortable and long-wearing boots, too. Usually belly leather off old man kangaroos.

  • Muzhik

    I haven’t tasted emu before. There are a few exotic animal farms in the Midwest that have been raising emus and ostriches for the meat, feathers, and oil, but they haven’t been able to popularize the products enough to encourage visions of the plains filled with emus as far as the eye can see (and thus lowering the cost of the product).

    I will admit to a (slightly racist) mental image of trying to fence in roos, of having the roo fences built by illegal-immigrant Mexican labor, who sneak a few roos out to have their cousins make a living using the roos to ferry immigrants over the border fence. Hey, it’s no stranger than building huge slingshots to shoot drugs over the border.

    If I feel like eating exotic, I’ll shell out money for a locally-grown bison steak or go to a restaurant where they sell bison burgers.

  • War Pig

    Must be that I’m half Blackfoot, but I have a carnal lust for the flesh of the buffalo. Ive had emu, ostrich, zebra, gazelle, antelope, alligator, water buffalo, kangaroo, capybara, camel, horse, goat, monkey, you name it. Wherever I was sent in the service I ate the local food.

    Slingshots, drones, submarines, tunnels, spaces in artificial limbs, pumpkin throwing trebuchets and air cannons; all are being used to smuggle narcotics into the US.

  • Josephine

    I came here for gourmet inspiration and what do I find? Sausage rolls. Funny because that is exactly what I made the family for dinner last night as I had run out of inspiration!

    Albeit mine were chook mince and various vege… and tomato sauce for the full effect. Delicious…

    If you are looking for egg free use half a cup of rice flour instead.