Christmas Tradition ~ Pigs in the Blanket

The Daily Meditation is below this post! 
Dough Covered & Rising
Pigs in the Blankets or SAUCIJZENBROODJES as they are known in Dutch, have been a Christmas tradition in my family for generations.  I can remember as a little girl, coming in from playing outside in the snow with my cousins, to my Grandma's blissfully warm kitchen with the smell of freshly made Pigs in the Blankets permeating the air!  What a treat to sit down around the kitchen table with a bit of that wonderful goodness!  Years later, I can remember how disappointed I was the first time someone handed me an "American" pig in the blanket and it was just a hot dog wrapped in biscuit dough!  For me, nothing beats the real thing! In the recent past, when we used to hold a large Christmas Caroling Party every year, we made a double batch of these and they were always a favorite of everyones and one of the first things to be eaten up!
The recipe has evolved over the years. My Grandmother made them with all pork sausage. As times have changed, the amount of pork sausage has decreased and the amount of lean ground meat has increased and now many family members make them with either lean ground beef or even ground turkey! Each family also seems to change the spices to suit their own preferences.  It seems that not too many people make the bread dough anymore either (other than me!) and so using frozen bread or roll dough has made the process simpler for some. 
I photographed the making of Pigs in the Blankets  this year for posterity and so that the coming generations will still know how to make them!  I thought I'd share the recipe with you!  
Rising dough
First make the bread dough.  My recipe comes from the "More with Less" Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre.  I've been using it for decades and find it to be a great white bread recipe.  Note that you will probably only need three loaves worth of dough, so you can either make a loaf of bread or some rolls in addition to the Pigs in the Blankets!


Oven: 350 degrees F
30 to 35 minutes

            2 pkg. dry yeast in
            ½ c. warm water
            1 ½ tsp sugar
Combine in large mixer bowl:
            ½ c. sugar
            1 TBLS salt
            1/4 c. lard or shortening
            3 c. warm water
            yeast mixture
            5 c. flour
Beat with electric mixer 3 minutes.
Stir in by hand:
            6 c. flour
Turn onto floured board and knead 5 minutes.  Place in greased bowl, turning once, cover and let rise ½ hour.  Punch down, turn over and let rise again until double.  
While the bread is rising, you can mix the meat! 
Ground meat with spices
In a large mixing bowl, combine:
            2 lbs. ground beef
            1 lb. pork sausage
            1 tsp. Salt
            ½ tsp. Pepper
            1 tsp. Cinnamon
            1 tsp. Nutmeg
            1/4 tsp. Cloves
Mix well using hands to evenly mix spices throughout meat.Shaping Dough step 1
Divide bread dough into four balls.  Divide each ball into thirds as they are needed.  
Shaping Dough step 2
With hands, roll one third of ball into a long thin roll 
Shaping Dough step 3
and then roll with rolling pin into long flat rectangle about 3" wide and 3/8" thick.  
Placing meat on dough
Form meat into a long thin roll about ½" in diameter down center of dough.  
Dampening edges of dough
Brush edges of dough with water.  (I usually use my fingers dipped in a small bowl of water to do this.)
Pinching dough closed
Bring edges of dough together around meat and pinch to seal.  
Rolled dough with meat filling

Cut into 1 1/2" to 2" segments 
On the Baking Pan
and place seam side down, 1" apart on a cookie sheet with sides. 
Covering while rising
Cover and let rise for ½ hour in a warm place.  
Risen rolls ready for the oven

Brushing with milk
Brush tops with:
            1/4 c. milk
Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.  (use the middle rack)
Brushing with drippings
Using a pastry brush, brush drippings from bottom of pan onto tops of Pigs in the Blankets.  
Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned.  
Note: if they don’t seem to brown in this amount of time, increase temp to 375 degrees F. 
Pigs in the Blankets
Remove to plates.  Serve warm.
This usually makes about 2 1/2 pans full for me, enough for a family plus a few leftovers to warm up later!  
An alternate version: 


3 – 4 loaves “Rhodes” frozen bread, thawed and raised as on label.
Eliminate Nutmeg (but keep other spices) and instead add:
            1/4 tsp. Ground ginger
            ½ tsp. Poultry seasoning

Happy Baking!  I'd love to know what family traditions you have that have been passed down through the generations!  


Nicola said…
I have really enjoyed this post. Very interesting.. For us in the UK pigs in blankets would be little sausages wrapped in bacon and your recipe would be sausage rolls.
Lady J said…
First off I love your blog, especially your CQ work. Pigs in the blanket for me, I'm Polish and Ukranian, is ground beef mixed with rice and seasonings then wrapped in cabbage leaves. They are then cooked in a mixture of tomatoes, a little vinegar, chopped cabbage and some water. Brings back memories.

Julie C

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