Boars in a Blanket, Joe's Style...
So you like Pigs in a Blanket? Well, how about if it was wrapped in a fluffy croissant? And instead of hot dogs, you had spicy Italian sausage? With a tasty salad on top with mustard dressing? And some dark cherry sauce on top? Oh... there's Apple-wood bacon in there? And cheeeeeese? Oh... Mah... God, Becky!
" ...save yourself the headache and leave plenty of extra time when you're baking to down all the wine that doesn't get used for the sauce!"
To make this recipe a little less daunting, I elected to go with pre-mixed croissant dough and pre-stuffed Italian sausage from the butcher. Normally, I like to make everything from scratch, but in cases like this, where you are really just trying to make some tasty hor d'oeuvres, save yourself the headache and leave plenty of extra time when you're baking to down all the wine that doesn't get used for the sauce! Sound like a plan? Hells yeah!
Here's what we need:
2 Oven ready Pillsbury croissant sheet
6 Spicy Italian sausage links
4 Strips of apple-wood bacon
1 Head of romaine lettuce (Chopped)
3 oz Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz Finely chopped green onion
4 oz Joe's Maple Monkfruit Minagerie salad dressing
1/2 cup Red wine
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1/2 cup Sweet dark cherries (pitted)
1/4 tsp Peppermint extract
1 tbsp Cornstarch
2 Cinnamon sticks
What's the plan, man? To make this go as smoothly and quickly as possible, start the sauce first, then cook the sausages and bacon, then while the meat rests, preheat the oven, then roll the sausages in the dough and start the bake, then while that's going on you can make the salad. When you get done baking, the sauce should be done or close to it. That being said, here's what you wanna do for each step:
1. Over medium heat, combine the red wine, the sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and the lemon juice and stir often. Add the dark cherries when the mixture starts to simmer. You want to muddle the cherries into that mixture pretty good. Keep stirring and muddling the cherries until the mixture starts to thicken a bit. When all that is left of the cherries is the skins, you can strain those out (or you can leave them in if you want a more chunky-style sauce). Add in the cornstarch slowly while stirring so that it doesn't clump, and also add the peppermint extract. When you can really see the mixture starting to thicken, you can remove from the heat and let it cool and thicken. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Keep in mind that when you start the sauce, it can be left alone for a couple of minutes at a time so you can deal with other steps.
2. I like to cook the sausages out on the grill. If you don't have one, you can do it on the stove in a skillet, also. If you opt for the skillet, be sure to use the cover or you'll have liquid magma popping all over the place and burning your flesh. Use a large nonstick pan to cook the bacon. when these finish, remove from the pans and place on a plate lined with a couple of paper towels to soak up the excess fat.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the dough sheet and separate the pieces. Roll around each sausage. If you roll it just right at an angle, you should be able to cover each one with 2 triangle dough pieces. Bake on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick coating until golden brown... probably about 12 minutes or so. Drink the leftover wine, but keep an eye on the oven for heavens sake!
4. The salad.. Chop the bacon, toss in a mixing bowl, and add the onions and romaine. Add in the mustard dressing. Toss everything to combine. Easy, huh?
5. The home stretch! Cut the sausage rolls at an angle to give yourself larger pieces.. Arrange on plate... Top with the salad mixture... Sprinkle on the mozzarella... Drizzle on the sauce... Party like it's 1999... or maybe 2099 now? You're done! Gotta love it.