Although originally designed to use up Christmas leftovers, my Sausage, Nut and Chutney Wreath is such a stunning centerpiece, it would easily be worth buying the ingredients just to make it in any of the cooler months!
This recipe was first published on the Women’s Institute MyWI page as the main course for the ‘Menu of the Month January 2018‘. The menu was written on the theme of “Christmas and New Year leftovers” with the focus on non-fresh items which are often still in glut come January. To use up all of that leftover cheese, I devised my Cheese, Leek and Thyme Risotto with Optional Bacon Topper for the menu starter and the dessert was my Easy Cranberry and Shortbread ‘Cheesecake’ which used up any leftover cranberry sauce and shortbread/biscuits.
Every single Christmas I have great intentions to make sausage rolls. Almost every single year, on boxing day, I end up shoving the sausage meat and pastry into the freezer as I’ve found that I didn’t have time and realistically didn’t need any more food. So come January, I always have sausage meat and pastry to use up. This recipe is a great way of jazzing up the meat and essentially making a showstopper sausage centrepiece! The bowl of whole nuts that everyone has lost interest in cracking can also be used up along with one of the many jars of chutney that languish from the cheeseboard or received as a well meaning gift. The clementine or satsuma clinging to life in the bottom of the fruit bowl can also be utilised. I’d suggest serving with roast or mash potatoes and some simple boiled veg with a light gravy of thickened stock.
I have used shelled pistachios in the recipe but almost any nuts could be substituted, including a mix. I would however perhaps avoid anything too heavily honey roasted or sweet and the larger wetter nuts like brazils. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews etc would be ideal. Salt can be rinsed off and the nuts dried if need be.
Puff pastry is not actually that difficult to make, it is however a bit time consuming, not from time spent making it, but time spent waiting for it to chill between the rolling and folding of layers. Give my recipe a go if you have a chance and if not, there is absolutely no shame in using the shop bought stuff as I did. I went for a block of pre-made pastry rather than ready rolled as you ideally need a squarer/circle shape than the rectangle the pre-rolled comes in. It does only take seconds to roll out.
1 Large Onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
150g Mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
450g Sausage Meat or Sausages with the casing removed
½ Leek, sliced into thin half moons
1 Large Apple, grated with the skin on and the juice squeezed out in kitchen paper
65g Pistachios or other nuts, quite finely but roughly chopped
1 Clementine, zested and 1 half juiced
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tbsp Dried Sage
500g Block Puff Pastry
1 Small Jar of Chutney
1 Egg beaten with a little salt
2 Ripe Figs, quartered length-ways
- Do check that you having a baking tray of sufficient size to contain your pastry wreath. I have been caught out by this on a number of occasions!
- The instructions for making the 8-point pastry star sound very complicated when written but do look at the step-by-step photos which are much easier to follow.
- If the wreath is really too scary for you, just use the pastry and filling to make a standard pie or plait.
- Any sausage meat can be used but it may be wise to reduce the extra added herbs if using a strong flavoured sausage such as Lincolnshire or Cumberland.
Preheat the oven to 190c fan oven or equivalent.
Add 1 Large Onion and 150g Mushrooms to 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes in a large frying pan. Cook gently on a low to medium heat until the onions and mushrooms are golden brown and caramelised.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine 450g Sausage Meat, ½ Leek, 1 Large Apple, 65g Pistachios, the zest and half the juice of 1 Clementine, 1 tbsp Minced Garlic, 1 tbsp Dried Oregano and 1 tbsp Dried Sage. I use my hands to make sure it is all well combined. Add the caramelised onions and mushrooms and further combine.
Roll a 500g Block Puff Pastry out into a large square – it needs to be about 50 cm across and about 1/3 cm thick. Use plenty of flour to ensure it doesn’t stick to the work surface.
Lay a 30 cm diameter flan dish or plate in the middle of the pastry and gently score a circle into the pastry using a sharp knife. Make sure to not cut all the way through the pastry. Repeat in the centre with a smaller 10-12 cm diameter platter or bowl. Trim the square into a circle losing as little pastry as possible. You should now have a round of pastry with two smaller circles marked towards the centre – think of a bullseye and outer bullseye.
At this point it is a good idea to move the pastry to the baking sheet it will ultimately be baked on. I used a re-useable non-stick baking sheet on a cookie sheet. The outer circle will hang off the sides of the sheet.
Again using a sharp knife or even better, sharp long nosed scissors, cut the inner circle into 8 sections, like cutting a pizza. Leave the ‘slices’ fully attached to the middle circle. Now visually follow each of the lines towards the outer ring and mark where they would meet the outer edge. Cut 8 triangles out of the outer ring. Flip each triangle around and attach them to the remaining part of the outer ring to create extended points. You should have now created an 8 point star.
Spread 1 Small Jar of Chutney into the middle circle then top with the sausage mixture taking care to spread it evenly around the whole ring – I do this by splitting the mix into 4 ‘sausages’ and placing one in each quarter then squeezing them together at the ends.
Fold each of the outer points into the middle, tucking them in tightly and a little under the sausage meat ring.
Using 1 Egg beaten with a little salt, egg wash the inner circle and bring the inner points up and over the sausage ring. Press to seal as much as possible. Egg wash the entire surface of the pastry.
Take 2 Ripe Figs and place one quarter, cut side up in each gap where the sausage meat is still showing through the pastry. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp Olive Oil.
Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. It is ready when golden brown and there is no pink left in the sausage meat (use a sharp knife to check a little section, maybe under a fig).
Let me know what you think in the comments!
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For more of my WI Menu of the Month recipes, why not check out the rest of the menu:
For more savoury pastry based bakes, check out these posts too:
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