Ever since I was a child I have loved the name of this quaint little dish. Pigs in Blankets are known around the world and here in the UK and Ireland are traditionally served at the Christmas lunch; figures released last year suggest close to 128 million are eaten on the day. However, they do not need to be reserved simply for one day of the year.
Children love these bite-sized sausages and I have seen adults equally enjoy them, so make plenty. They are great on a buffet or party food, a picnic, or in a lunch box.
You can, of course, make your own sausages and wrap them, which is a fun thing to do. Here, I use bought cocktail-sized sausages. Avoid the cheapest sausages, instead choose good quality, full-flavored sausages to make them stand out. The best bacon to use for wrapping is thinly sliced streaky.
The British and Irish Pig in a Blanket should not be confused with those served in the US. Here they are small, cocktail-sized sausages wrapped in streaky bacon, not the pastry wrapped sausages served over the pond. In the US there is a national day devoted to them, and vague, fey attempts were made here for it to be December, but thankfully that silly marketing ploy has fizzled out.
- 24 cocktail-sized sausages, as described above
- 8 - 12 slices streaky bacon
- A little oil or butter for greasing
- Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C)
- Lightly grease a baking tray and cover with baking parchment. Keep to one side.
- On a chopping board, lay the slices of bacon side by side Then using the back of a dinner knife, stretch the bacon as far as it will go without tearing it. Cut each slice into thirds.
- Take each cocktail sausage, and wrap it tightly with the bacon (like swaddling a baby).
- Lay the wrapped sausage on the prepared baking tray. Continue until you have used up all the bacon and sausages.
- At this point, the tray can be covered and placed in the refrigerator to cook later.
- As soon as you need your pigs, pop them into the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and golden and the sausage cooked right through.
- Serve alongside your roast turkey or goose on the Christmas table, or use as described above.
The sausages can be wrapped the day before, even the week before and frozen but please defrost thoroughly before cooking. The best way to defrost is to remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight.