Serve this vegetarian sausage as an appetizer with crusty French bread spread with mayonnaise spiked with Creole mustard. It’s a delicious accompaniment to pasta, risotto or oven-fried potatoes. Freezing is not advised, as it spoils the texture.
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, cut into small chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, stems trimmed, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 teaspoon pressed garlic
2 large dried bay leaves, midrib removed, ground in a spice mill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sweet marjoram or Italian oregano
1 teaspoon chopped sage
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked rice
1 egg, beaten well
2 to 3 tablespoons soft bread crumbs
Additional olive oil to brown sausage
Pulse the celery, red pepper and mushrooms in a food processor until they are finely chopped, but not pureed. Wilt them in oil over high heat, stirring continuously. Stir in the sliced green onions and garlic. Add the herbs and spices, heating thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; add the rice and beaten egg, mixing well. Sprinkle in enough crumbs to absorb most of the liquid.
Lay a 12-by16-inch sheet of plastic wrap on a clean work surface. Spoon half the vegetable mixture evenly along 8 inches of the long edge. Form into a log by carefully rolling it away from you, wrapping the plastic tightly as you go. Twist the ends closed, and knot one end. Push the filling toward the knotted end to fill the wrap evenly, then tie the second end closed and transfer the roll to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Refrigerate 1 to 6 hours.
Before cooking, prick the plastic wrap with a sharp, thin knife every 2 inches. In a large nonreactive skillet, heat 1 inch of water to just below simmering. Add the sausages, cover and poach for 8 minutes, or until firm in the center, turning once with a slotted spatula. Cool on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes, then remove the plastic wrap. In a small amount of olive oil over medium heat, brown the sausages quickly on all sides. Remove them to a cutting board and let cool 2 to 3 minutes, then slice each into 10 to 12 pieces.