Don’t you just love biting into a freshly baked bun stuffed with sausages that have been cooked with green onions and some diced red pepper? They’re certainly better and much more wholesome than “pogos” – that’s what we call the hotdog breads in Montreal that hang precariously on popsicle sticks.
Sausage buns to me are like Chinese steamed buns. If I were to tell you a story of my childhood, steamed buns would be part of that story – thanks to the pervasive Chinese influence in my country. I look back with nostalgia to the days we’d take steamed buns to school in our lunchbox. You remember those metal lunchboxes from the good old days? They came with a thermos that was held in place with a movable wire so that when you carried it to school, the thermos wouldn’t roll inside and spill whatever liquid it contained. The front of the lunchbox would have a picture of Cinderella, Hi-Ho Silver or whatever was in vogue at that time.
Then when I transitioned from being a student to an employee, the metal lunchbox gave way to the brown paper bag but the steamed buns stayed with me. I’d wrap them in aluminum foil and then nuke them in the office microwave at lunch time. These buns either had pork, beef or chicken. I call them my “tide-me-over” food because they are filling.
I have the same reverence for sausage buns as I do for my Chinese steamed buns. They’re one of my favorite comfort foods. The first time I made them, they were appetizing, so my gut instincts tell me that you’ll enjoy making them as well. It’s one of those no-fail recipes that you can do even after a few glasses of wine! And of course, it’s the kind of recipe you can vary a hundred ways.
(a) 6-8 long hotdogs, cut into bite-size pieces (see picture for approximate size)
(b) 4 stalks green onions, chopped
(c) half of a red pepper bell, chopped
(d) 3-4 tbsp of butter
Melt butter in high heat. When butter is melted, lower heat and throw in your hotdogs and red peppers. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes. When hotdogs are cooked, add the green onions. Set aside and let cool.
1/3 cup water, heated to 100F
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder (divided)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tbsp margarine (or butter)
1/2 cup milk, warmed up
Procedure for Buns:
Combine all sponge ingredients in a bowl. Cover and leave until bubbles appear and start to break.
Add the all purpose flour, cake flour, half of the baking powder, salt, sugar, margarine and water. Mix and blend together. Transfer to a flat board and knead, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and coat in oil, leaving it to rest in a covered bowl until it doubles in size – about 2 hours.
Take the dough and knead a little more. Gently flatten with rolling pin. Cut circles (about 4 inches in diameter) using a dough cutter. What I do is I use a dessert plate and cut around the edge.
Fill each dough round with 2-3 tbsp of sausage mixture. Make sure the round thins out only towards the edges. Do not stretch the center too much because your sausage filling could protrude. Once you’ve spooned your filling, gather up the edges and press firmly together. Turn upside down. Repeat the same step until all your rounds are filled.
Cover with a damp cloth and put in a draft-free place. Leave for an hour.
Take out your buns, brush tops with butter (or brush with a beaten egg mixed with a tbsp of water) and then bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.
Here are my buns as they came out of the oven. You get to peek what’s inside the bun as well!