Gluten-free beef sausage rolls that are crispy, crunchy outside and savoury, meaty inside? You bet! (And the best part is they're baked, not fried, plus they're a cinch to roll up.) Serve them with cooling tzatziki dip for the perfect balance of flavours. (Skip to post.)
I've got it! I've got it! I've got it!
That cheering is the sound of me celebrating a method to bake things in rice paper wrappers!
All it took was a brush and some oil. Duh (slaps hand to forehead - why didn't I think of that earlier?) Now they're crispy and chewy and just so darn delicious. I think I can go crazy with all kinds of fillings. My head is buzzing with new ideas.
If you've never worked with rice paper wrappers, I urge you to try it. They are the cat's meow in easy ways to get a meal on the table absolutely quickly. Got some leftovers in the fridge? Got a package of rice paper wrappers in the pantry? You've got dinner!
Check out my post on Salmon and Spinach Salad Rolls for tons of great ideas on how to fill these handy little wet-em-and wrap-up-anything-for-a-great meal-or-snack packages. Plus, they're naturally gluten-free, too!
We love salad rolls with a bit of salmon or leftover meat, whatever veggie ingredients I can raid from the crisper drawer, maybe some herbs, and a favourite sauce. So fresh and easy (and quick).
But I've been on a mission to figure out ways to fill and heat rice paper wrappers. I've tried baking them with my samosa filling - but they became hard when baked. I tried making a shrimp filling and deep-frying them, but they kept sticking to each other in the boiling oil and bursting open.
Finally one day I tried brushing them with oil before baking them - voilà - perfectly light, crispy, yet chewy. Oh, I am in food heaven.
So, on to the Sausage Rolls
I have memories of sausage-making days when growing up on the farm. After the butchering was done, and all the meat was cut up, it was time to make the sausage. My dad made a special tube that attached to the end of the meat grinder (which you can buy, too) and the meat, fat, and spices would be put through the grinder. I remember playing with the long lumpy spaghetti strands of the tangled intestinal casing soaking in the sink, waiting to be slipped over the end of the sausage tube and filled to become plump shining coils of flavourful sausage. My Opa (dad's dad) came and helped us sometimes for sausage-making sessions. He was the one with the recipe in his head. He died when I was only 10 years old, but I do have some special memories of him.
When I called my mom and asked her how my dad and Opa had made the sausages, she couldn't remember the recipe, only that lots of black pepper, plus allspice and cloves, were the main flavouring ingredients. I had been playing around with variations of a sausage filling, and was pleased that my seasonings were close to that old version. Instead of using fat along with my meat, I used caramelized onions and mushrooms to provide moisture and flavour. (It takes a bit of love and time to slowly sauté the onions til they are sugary sweet and silky, but the effort is worth the flavour.) And since I didn't have any sausage casing handy, I used rice paper wrappers. Opa and Dad might have rolled their eyebrows at this unconventional type of sausage, but I think they'd have approved of the flavour.
Here's a picture tutorial for rolling the rice paper wrappers. While I wrap one roll, I have the next wrapper softening in a skillet with about ½ inch (1 cm) of cold water in it.
- Lay out your soaked (30 to 45 seconds) rice paper wrapper.
- Place the meat mixture on it horizontally, about ⅓ of the way up the wrapper.
3. Roll the wrapper up to cover the filling, starting at the bottom.
4. Then fold over one side of the rice paper wrapper.
5. Now fold over the other side of the rice paper wrapper to cover the filling. Make sure you've folded in both sides enough so they don't stick out farther than the edges of your filling.
6. Then continue rolling up the wrapper to the end, finishing with the end of the wrapper underneath the roll to keep it sealed.
Now place the rolls, seam side down, onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure there is about 1 inch (2.5cm) space between them. Brush the tops and sides of the rolls generously with oil, using a pastry brush, and making sure to dab oil onto the ends, too.
Bake them, then enjoy a bite into a crispy-shelled, savoury little sausage roll.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: Rice Paper wrappers can be purchased in Asian grocery stores, or in the Asian section of large supermarkets (like Superstore).
Chickpea flour can be purchased in natural food stores, health food stores, or in the Asian section of large supermarkets. It goes by many different names and is relatively inexpensive. Our local large supermarket chain (Superstore) carries the Suraj brand of chickpea flour (called chana flour) in its Indian import section. This brand is included in the Grande Prairie Celiac Site (click 'Pages' then click 'GF Flours and Mixes' in the dropdown).
*You could also substitute another gluten-free or regular flour for the chickpea flour.
Gluten Free Beef Sausage Rolls with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter, ghee, coconut oil, or bacon fat
- 2 large onions, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups (170gms) finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 lb (454gms) lean ground beef
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground dried ginger
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup chickpea flour (garbanzo/besan/chana/gram flour)
- 16 medium rice paper wrappers (8-inch/20cm) diameter), or 32 small rice paper wrappers (6-inch/15cm diameter) to make appetizer sized rolls
- 1 to 2 tablespoons oil or melted ghee
Prepare the filling: Finely chop the onions, either by hand or in a food processor - just don't process too long or you'll have mush. If you used a food processor, finely chop the mushrooms in it before washing it out, or chop the mushrooms finely by hand.
Heat the ghee, oil, or fat in a heavy bottomed skillet set over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and the 2 tablespoons water to the skillet. Cook the onions for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until they are brown and caramelized and reduced to at least half their volume. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes longer, stirring often, until the mushrooms have released their juices and the juices have evaporated off, with the mushrooms starting to brown a bit at the edges. Let the mixture cool. (You can cook the onions and mushrooms a day or two ahead and refrigerate them until ready to make the sausage rolls.)
While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, mix the ground meat, salt, pepper, thyme, allspice, ginger, egg, and chickpea flour in a bowl. Stir in the cooled caramelized onions and mushrooms, and mix lightly with your hands until combined.
Assemble the rolls: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set out a shallow dish (pie plate or clean skillet) and fill it with about ½ inch (1 cm) water. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a large cutting board in front of you for a work space.
Place one rice paper wrapper into the water and let it soak for 30 to 45 seconds, until it is just pliable. Remove the wrapper and set it onto the work surface in front of you. Place the next rice paper wrapper into the water to soak while you roll the first one. If the wrappers soak too long they get limp and sticky, but if they don't soak long enough, they are hard to roll and can crack. After rolling a few you'll get a feel for exactly how long to soak them for ease of wrapping. If the wrapper isn't quite pliable enough to work with when you take it out of the water, let it lay on your work surface for 10 or 15 more seconds, and it should be soft enough to roll.
Take about 3 tablespoons of spiced meat mixture from the bowl and roll it into a ball (about 1¾" diameter). Form the meatball into a 3-inch long (8cm) sausage in your hand. If making appetizer-sized sausage rolls, use only 1½ tablespoons of spiced meat and shape it into 2½ inch long (6cm) sausages (then use the small-sized rice paper wrappers).
Place the sausage horizontally in front of you, onto the rice paper wrapper about one quarter of the way into the wrapper. Fold the short end of the sheet over the sausage, and start rolling it, away from you. Fold over both sides of the wrapper, tucking the ends in as you roll the sausage roll all the way to the end of the wrapper. Place the roll onto the prepared baking sheet, seam side down.
Continue making all the rolls, always soaking the next rice wrapper as you roll the previous one.
Once all the rolls are placed on the baking sheet, use a pastry brush to brush each one generously with the oil, making sure to dab oil onto the ends of the sausage rolls too.
Bake the large sausage rolls for40 minutes, turning the rolls once about halfway through, until they are golden brown and crispy. Bake the smaller appetizer-sized rolls for 30 minutes, turning them after 20 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve with tzatziki or your favourite dipping sauce.
Makes 16 gluten free sausage rolls or 32 appetizer-sized rolls.
*Rolls also taste great at room temperature - send them in lunchboxes. To reheat and crisp up leftover rolls, reheat them in a 400°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
- 1 cup (250ml) Greek yogurt
- ½ cup (120ml) packed, shredded English cucumber (thin-skinned)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- a sprinkle of coarsely ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (optional)
Pass the garlic clove through a garlic press, or finely mince it then crush it with the flat side of a knife blade. Shred the cucumber with the skin on, and pack it into the measuring cup to measure.
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to mellow the flavours.
Makes 1½ cups tzatziki sauce. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Stir before using.
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