By popular demand, I’m finally putting my sausage bread recipe in writing. (Okay, I know that some of you asked for it several months ago, but…)
I’ve honed the actual prep and cooking down to its easiest, quickest formula. No more rolling and stretching fresh pizza dough, no more crumbling the sausage. The instructions look a lot more complicated than they really are, but that’s because I’ve added notes for guidance. So here you are:
– 1 roll (16-oz) PARK’S HOT N’SAGEY SAUSAGE (In the frozen sausage section, the wrapper is bright orange)
NOTE: Keep it frozen until the night before (or morning before) you’re planning to start this; let it partially thaw in the fridge so that it will be easier to slice lengthwise, otherwise it’s messier to try to slice evenly.
– 1 roll Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
– 1/2 lb. (approx) Muenster cheese (or provolone, or Monterey Jack, any mild cheese – I don’t use mozzarella ’cause it’s too stringy/messy.)
NOTE: I get the muenster cheese in the bar form, since I end up slicing it lengthwise. I thinly slice off the orange outer part of the muenster before slicing.
– 1/2 to 3/4 lb. mushrooms
NOTE: I get the pre-sliced white mushrooms, which come in an 8-oz package, but a bit more would be optimal. (For this Saturday’s event, where I made two breads, I had inadvertently bought one pack of sliced white mushrooms and one pack of sliced baby bellas. Mixed, it turned out okay, but the baby bellas are a little more rubbery, so I’d recommend just the white mushrooms.)
– 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic (or several smaller cloves, or a good heaping tablespoon of jarred pre-minced garlic)
– a pat or two of butter
Since I usually make this for a particular event or get-together, I like to get the prep part done the night before:
– Pre-heat oven to 325;
– Slice the sausage roll lengthwise into (approx) 1/2″-thick slices (easiest if you slice it down the center, then slice each half down their centers–you should end up with 4 slices); place the slices in a foil-lined (for easier cleanup) pan that’s at least 1″ deep – I use a brownie pan – because the sausage produces a lot of grease; place in pre-heated oven and bake for approx. 1/2 hour, turning slices halfway through cooking time; you’ll want them to be thoroughly cooked, but not browned or crispy; meanwhile:
– Peel the garlic cloves and mince them in a chopper (or whatever you more sophisticated cooks use);
– the mushrooms: whether you’re using pre-packaged sliced mushrooms or whole mushrooms, they’ll need to be chopped into smaller pieces–you can combine them with the garlic cloves when you chop them, or do it separately;
– Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the minced garlic and chopped mushrooms; cook on low heat (either covered or uncovered), stirring occasionally, until both mushrooms and garlic are well-softened (approx. 15 minutes)
If you’re doing these steps simultaneously, both the sausage and the mushroom/garlic combo should end up being ready around the same time; then:
– Remove the sausage slices from the pan and blot them thoroughly in a LOT of paper towels to absorb as much grease as possible;
– Drain the liquid from the cooked mushroom/garlic concoction (you can keep the liquid for other recipes if you wish);
At this point you can either refrigerate these ingredients and go to bed, or set them aside while you start playing with the pizza dough. Either way, when you are ready to finally put the whole thing together:
– Pre-heat oven to 350
– Open the pizza dough roll and carefully (try not to stretch it) unroll it onto a very lightly greased large cookie sheet or other large baking pan (can’t use round pizza pan, as the dough rolls out into a rectangle, more or less) NOTE: I spray a little Pam onto a paper towel and use the sprayed paper towel to grease the pan. You can use a little bit of butter the same way.
– Arrange the sausage slices along the center of the pizza dough, leaving about 1/2″ to 3/4″ of dough uncovered at both ends. The sausage slices should be arranged in two-by-two form, i.e. ==; it works best if you lay them out along the shorter width of the pizza dough;
– Using a cheese slicer (for uniformity) slice the Muenster cheese bar lengthwise in approx. 1/4″-thick slices; arrange the slices on top of the sausage slices;
– cover the sausage/cheese slices with the mushroom/garlic mixture, spreading evenly;
– carefully (again, try not to stretch the dough) fold the sides of the dough over the top of the whole concoction, and pinch the open ends together to close the bread;
– bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is more-or-less evenly golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then carefully remove it from the baking sheet – I use two spatulas so that the bread is evenly supported. Either place the bread on a serving plate for immediate slicing and consumption; or, if you’re bringing it to an event, wrap the bread in tinfoil.
NOTE: When I do this for an event, I allow extra time to cool the bread in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour, then pre-slice it and reheat it for 10 or 15 minutes at 300 prior to final wrapping for transport. When I do the re-heating, I partially wrap the bread, leaving the top uncovered a bit so the top gets firm and a little crusty again.
As I said, the above looks like a lot of complicated work, but it’s really not, otherwise I would probably be too lazy to make it!
Try it yourself and enjoy!