These bite-sized Sausage and Pepper Puffs are the perfect gameday appetizer!
Way back before I started this blog, I worked in higher education. Working on a college campus absolutely has some advantages, and I had the opportunity to work with some incredible students and faculty. But here’s the thing about working with college students. They keep different hours. As in, their days don’t start until mid-late morning, but they are up working way past a “normal” person’s bedtime. As an adviser to a student group, that meant that I got to stick around campus until really late in the evening…or sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. Man, those were some looong days!
Shortly after I met my future-wife, I remember having one of these all-night meetings on campus. My normal workday was 8-5. The student group met at 6 and typically didn’t wrap up before 11 at the earliest. And I remember the meeting that night being particularly long. That meant I didn’t have much time for dinner. So Laura whipped up one of her specialties and brought me a late dinner in my office. Sausage and pepper hoagies. I’m here to tell ya…that was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! (And now you know why I married her. Haha…just kidding! But she does make a mean sausage and pepper hoagie.)
Since Laura comes from a large Italian family, sausage and pepper hoagies were one of her go-to meals. And honestly, they’re incredibly easy to make. Slow cooked peppers and onions topped with Italian sausage. Delicious! It’s been years since that late-night dinner in my old office, but we still make sausage and pepper hoagies quite often. And they’re still one of my favorite meals. Whenever we make sausage and pepper hoagies, I still think back to that night when Laura brought me that late-night dinner in my office. Good times!
With the big game coming up soon, I thought about making sausage and pepper hoagies. They’re a classic football food. But eating a hoagie loaded with sausage, peppers and onions can be difficult…especially when trying to watch the game at the same time. So I decided to take the same delicious flavors and turn them into a finger food. Say hello to Sausage and Pepper Puffs. I apologize in advance if you eat the entire tray of these before they ever make it out of the kitchen. (That very well could happen, too. Trust me on that one.)
Sausage and Pepper Puffs are pretty much the same thing as sausage and pepper hoagies. Except instead of dropping the sausage, onions and peppers into a soft roll, you just drop them into little puff pastry pockets instead. Bake ’em up, and you end up with these little bite-sized pockets of deliciousness! I can absolutely promise that these will be a huge hit at your football party. We made a test run of these bad boys during the playoffs last weekend, and they didn’t last long at all.
We used Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage for these puffs as that’s my wife’s go-to sausage. She’s part-Italian, so she knows her Italian sausage. (She grew up eating ravioli, meatballs and Italian sausage for Christmas dinner. That deserves some respect in my book!) You could easily use Johnsonville’s ground Italian sausage for these puffs, too. Or you could get wild and crazy and go with the Hot Italian Sausage links instead.
If you’ve got a hungry crowd of football fans coming over for the Sausage Bowl this year, then these Sausage and Pepper Puffs need to make an appearance! Not only are they delicious and bite-sized, they can be prepped in advance of the party. Just cook up the sausage, peppers and onions and then drop them into the puff pastry cups. Then once your friends show up, pop these puffs in the oven to bake. Delicious food, exciting football and time spent with good friends…that’s what it’s all about!
Sausage and Pepper Puffs
- 19 oz. Italian sausage, sliced
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium white onion diced
- 1 medium bell pepper diced (see note)
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
- ½ cup provolone cheese shredded
- 1 egg beaten
- Optional: Dried oregano sea salt
- Place ½ Tbsp of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet; place skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sliced sausage and cook until first side is browned (~5 minutes). Flip and cook for 5 more minutes. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper-towel lined plate; set aside. Once cool, slice each piece of sausage into 2 halfmoon pieces.
- Drain all but ~1 Tbsp of grease from skillet; add diced onions and peppers. Stir and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Meanwhile, roll each sheet of thawed puff pastry into a 12”x12” square. Cut each sheet into (12) squares. (Note: each square will be ~3”x4”).
- Lightly spray a mini-muffin tin with baking spray. Gently press one pastry square into each cup.
- Fill each cup with 1-2 pieces of cooked sausage and ~1 Tbsp of cooked onions and peppers. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese. Bring the 4 corners of the puff pastry together and pinch to seal.
- Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp of water; Brush closed tops of puff pastry with the egg wash. (Optional: Sprinkle tops of puff pastry with a pinch of dried oregano and sea salt.)
- Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.