For me, a roast is just as much about all the vegetables and other sides than the centrepiece itself: perhaps more so! And it’s little treats such as pigs in blankets that add even more bursts of pleasure when tucking into a roast.
I love pigs in blankets and even standard ones – just sausage wrapped in bacon – are a delight. However, they are even better with a few very simple additions….
For my favourite version of pigs in blankets I pop in a little dried apricot and a small amount of cranberry sauce before rolling them up and brushing with a little honey and a lightly sprinkling of thyme. The combination of slight sharpness, sweetness and stickyness you get goes so well with the richness of the sausage and the smoky saltiness of the bacon.
For further lily-gilding, I sometimes soak the apricots in a little cider overnight: this is by no means essential of course, but the apricots soak up some of the cider to give even nicer pigs in blankets.
Needless to say, good quality sausages and bacon make all the difference here.
For other great dishes to serve with a roast, I have listed some of my favourites below this recipe.
These take moments to assemble before they are ready for popping in the oven but you can do these a few days in advance and leave, covered, in the fridge. Alternatively, freeze them when rolled up.
If you want to get children involved, this is a great dish for them to get stuck into, as they get a mini production line going and roll them up neatly.
Recipe: the best pigs in blankets – serves many!
- good quality chipolata sausages (or sausagemeat of choice*)
- streaky bacon, cut into thin strips
- a few dried apricots, thinly slices
- a few teaspoons cranberry sauce
- a splash of cider, optional
- a tablespoon or so or runny honey
- fresh thyme leaves
*if using sausagemeat, take small balls and roll them into mini cylinders
(1) If soaking the apricots, put them in a bowl with the cider, give it all a stir and set aside overnight to plump up a little.
(2) Take a strip of bacon and place a piece of uncooked sausage, a piece of apricot and a little cranberry sauce at one end.
(3) Roll up fairly tightly and put on a baking trayed lined with greaseproof with the seal underneath to stop them unrolling as they cook.
(4) Brush lightly with honey and sprinkle with a little thyme.
(5) Cook at about 170-180C (fan) for 20 minutes or so or until a nice golden-brown on top.
Other perfect accompaniments to a roast dinner
Yorkshire puddings: the secrets to perfect Yorkshire Puddings every time is here
For the best carrots (honeyed, with parsley and just a hint of truffle!): my ultimate carrots
For a fabulous Brussels sprouts dish: my perfect Brussels sprouts
For the very best roast potatoes every time: perfect roast potatoes
For the most delicous gravy to bring everything together: gravy
For my favourite stuffing (inside the meat and/or cooked separately), which included herbs, apricots, nuts and sausagemeat: stuffing