Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24: National Pig-in-a-blanket Day

I'm an American, so when I hear "pig-in-a-blanket," my first thought is a hot dog wrapped in crescent roll dough.  In the UK, apparently a pig-in-a-blanket is a sausage wrapped in bacon.  Did you know there's a Bacon Wiki?  Well, I didn't, but according to the Bacon Wiki, pig-in-a-blanket is a Christmas food in the UK.  When you use the small cocktail sausages, pigs-in-blankets make great appetizers. Just stick a toothpick in each one, set out some melted cheese for dipping, and watch them disappear. 

As for the "blanket?"  It can be crescent rolls, filo dough, pastry dough, pancakes....  Pretty any much bread or pastry is fair game as use as the blanket.

Quartered sausages
To celebrate today's food observance, I decided I'd make pigs-in-blankets for dinner.  Finding the pigs was surprisingly hard.  I gave up on regular hot dogs years ago, but I do like sausages, so I decided to go with a gourmet sausage.  Surprisingly, most of the sausages were not pig - they were chicken, turkey, and beef.  I was a little surprised to realize that what most people use for pigs-in-blanket is not actually a pig-based product. 

Strips of biscuit dough
I finally decided on two pork andouille sausages from the deli counter.  I cooked both sausages until they had an internal temperature of 170 degrees.  (Always cook meats, especially ground, to the appropriate temperature.)  I cut the sausages into quarters.  For the blanket, I opted to go with a homemade biscuit dough.  I used this Alton Brown biscuit recipe which I've used before.  For today, I used 1 cup regular flour, 1/2 cup cake flour, and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and added a tablespoon of Tuscan Sunset seasoning.  Instead of cutting the dough into rounds for biscuits, I cut the dough into strips.  I wrapped those biscuit strips around the sausage quarters as well as I could.  For half of the pigs, I added a strip of cheddar with habanero pepper.

Ready to go in the oven
The result?  My Pigs-in-Blankets were somewhere between "meh" and "awesome."  I suppose the best way to describe them would be "good, but not excellent."  Next time, I'll just halve the sausages - quartering them meant I had slightly dry sausages after all the cooking.  I really liked the addition of cheddar for the extra kick of spice and will have to try it with pepper jack sometime. 

I'll also have to try pigs-in-blankets, UK-style.  Because, well.... bacon.

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