Start to finish: 30 minutes Servings: 6-8 Difficulty level: Easy
Generations of schoolchildren have come to love pigs in a blanket as a tasty after-school snack. The miniature hot dog-in-pastry treats made their way into mainstream cuisine as grown-up appetizers, but adults found themselves wanting something a little more sophisticated to offer their guests. The humble pig in a blanket has been reincarnated as a savory morsel creatively embellished with ingredients beyond ketchup and mustard.
Ingredients for a Basic Pig
- 1 8-oz. can refrigerated crescent rolls
- 24 bite-size pieces of hot dog or miniature hot dogs or sausages
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oven is warming, open the can of rolls and separate them into 8 triangles. Use a knife to cut each of them lengthwise into 3 narrower triangles.
Place a piece of hot dog on a triangle's shortest side and roll it toward the opposite point. Place the rolled-up hot dog with the pointed side of the dough down on the baking sheet. Repeat this step until all the pigs are blanketed.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
Tweak the dough for more sophisticated palates. Use pizza dough or other homemade dough as a creative point of departure.
Brush the tops with one beaten whole egg and sprinkle them with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or dried minced garlic and onions. Go wild and use all four of them.
Use caraway seeds for a topping that pairs well with tart fillings. Sprinkle coarse salt on the wrapped pigs for easy to-make pretzel dogs.
Wrap sausages in pancake blankets, top them with syrup and you have breakfast pigs.
Impress your bacon-loving friends by rolling the pigs in their favorite food instead of dough.
Use individual mini smoked sausage links or bite-size pieces of kielbassa instead of hot dogs. Chorizos and Cajun chicken andouilles add an upscale touch when you are entertaining.
Substitute Italian sausage for the filling, brush the pigs' wraps with olive oil and sprinkle on mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to make mini pizza dogs.
Add jalapenos or small pickle slices for a zip of unexpected flavor. Ramp up the flavor by including bacon and a touch of brown sugar with the jalapenos before rolling up the pigs. A dollop of drained sauerkraut never goes amiss with a hot dog, either.
Wrap the meat in one of several varieties of cheese. American, Swiss, mozzarella and Cheddar complement a number of heretical fillings.
Ketchup and mustard are kids' stuff. Adults dip their pigs in the blanket in more sophisticated sauces. If you have to use mustard, choose an interesting variety such as spicy brown, horseradish or Dijon. They add flavor without being overbearing.
Serve a chorizo pig with a side of zesty cilantro dip that includes olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley.
Pair warm marinara sauce with Italian-sausage fillings. Thousand Island dressing complements Reuben pigs.
Serve chili or chili sauce with chorizo-filled Mexican pigs.
Keep the Pigs and You Safe
Follow general food safety measures when cooking, serving and storing pigs in the blanket. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Any temperature between 40 and 140 degrees presents a chance for bacteria to grow.
Keep the crescent rolls and meat in the refrigerator until you need them. Prepare several small batches instead of a single large one to reduce the amount of time the pigs are sitting on a serving platter.