We nutrition geeks like to immerse ourselves in the science. We debate nutrient ratios, plant-animal caloric balance, sustainability, and the all-important question of whether the modern day cantaloupe even remotely resemble its ancient sisters. All pressing issues that no one standing around the water cooler at the local gym has ever discussed. So I relish […]
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Photo by Andrew Purcell, food styling by Carrie Purcell
Stockpiled the beer? Picked the popcorn? Great. But there's still one more thing for you to do before the big game kicks off: Design your very own pigs-in-a-blanket.
Oh, wait, were you planning to go with the basic model? They'll do in a pinch. But in just three simple steps, you can go beyond cocktail wieners and puff pastry, giving this old-school party snack an all-star makeover.
PICK A NEW "PIG"
There's no need to default to the cocktail wienie. Not when you can take your pick from the wide world of sausages. Duck sausage. Spicy pork sausage. Chicken-herb. Smoky kielbasa. The only points you need to know: The sausages need to be pre-cooked, so if you pick up a batch of raw sausages, just pan-fry them and let them cool to room temp before cutting them to cocktail-wiener size and wrapping your pigs in pastry. (Click here for the basic method.) There's only one kind of sausage you can't use: Dried sausages. They're too, well, dry.
TUCK IN SOMETHING TASTY
Great sausage stands on its own, sure, but no one would say no to biting into a pig that also features melted cheese or another flavor-packed ingredient. Just think about what your selected sausage would taste best with. Spicy Italian sausage with provolone and some sliced basil. Kielbasa with sauteed onions or sauerkraut. Chorizo with membrillo (quince paste). Hot dogs with pimento cheese. Chicken-herb sausage with pesto. And so on. Just keep the amounts on the small side so the pigs still roll up easily in the pastry.
GARNISH YOUR "BLANKET"
After you've rolled up your pigs, there's still time to add even more flavor before they bake. Just brush them with beaten egg and sprinkle them with something delicious. Cumin seeds. Dried oregano. Grated cheese. Smoked paprika. Flaky sea salt and/or cracked black pepper.
Ready to get started? Here are three amazing upgrades on pigs-in-a-blanket to try:
Pigs-in-a-Blanket with Sauerkraut and Mustard
Pigs-in-a-Blanket with Hoisin and Scallion
Pig-in-a-Blanket with Chorizo, Membrillo, and Manchego