Scotch Eggs

Here’s an inevitable egg related recipe post for this Easter weekend! Scotch eggs remind me of home & they are a British creation perfect for a picnic or with a decent pint of ale. They are basically a hard-boiled egg that’s covered in sausagemeat and then coated in breadcrumbs. This “protein ball” is then deep-fried or baked. At home you can readily find them in supermarkets, often in the form of a ‘savoury egg’ or ‘egg bites’, where they’re made in miniature form with chopped up egg (& sometimes with mayo, bacon, etc) instead of a whole one. Ideally though, try to avoid these additive filled ones as you really can’t beat having a proper homemade or freshly cooked one at a local gastropub.  10355792_541635688971_933454503282160853_n

Over the last years, chefs across the globe have been re-inventing this classic & switching up the more traditional recipes by adding all kinds of herbs & spices to maple syrup or smoked haddock (see this link for some weirder varieties!). I guess they all have their merits, but should you be after a popular yet unusual modern variation on the scotch egg, then I’d suggest going for a Manchester egg; a pickled egg wrapped in Lancashire black pudding. If that sounds a bit wrong to you, why not meet somewhere in the middle by keeping the pickled egg but covering it a Cajun sausage mix like Camilla Wynne in her recently published Preservation Society cookbook.11137099_541635629091_3977961675738110186_n

Anyway, if you’re after  a basic recipe to start out with, the one below has never failed me so far. It also gives room for you to easily add any additional herbs or spices to the sausage mix if you feel inclined. You can serve them warm or cold (as pictured) and they are perfect with your ploughman’s lunch or afternoon picnic. I love my condiments but I don’t feel that scotch eggs necessarily need an accompanying sauce. However, a bit of wholegrain/English mustard, a few pickles & a nice leafy salad won’t upset anyone. Another option would be to serve it with gravy like they did in the 1800s! Though if you’re going down this route, why not just go the whole hog and follow this 1861 Isabella Beeton recipe from ‘The Book of Household Management‘.. Just letme know how it turns out!

SCOTCH EGGS.
1666. INGREDIENTS. – 6 eggs, 6 tablespoonfuls of forcemeat No. 417, hot lard,½ pint of good brown gravy.

Mode. – Boil the eggs for 10 minutes; strip them from the shells, and cover them with forcemeat made by recipe No. 417; or substitute pounded anchovies for the ham. Fry the eggs a nice brown in boiling lard, drain them before the fire from their greasy moisture, dish them, and pour round from ¼ to½ pint of good brown gravy. To enhance the appearance of the eggs, they may be rolled in beaten egg and sprinkled with bread crumbs; but this is scarcely necessary if they are carefully fried. The flavour of the ham or anchovy in the forcemeat must preponderate, as it should be very relishing.
Time. – 10 minutes to boil the eggs, 5 to 7 minutes to fry them.
Average cost, 1s. 4d.
Sufficient for 3 or 4 persons. Seasonable at any time.

10455439_541635669011_3958856272687484686_nScotch Eggs
Although the covering is normally breadcrumbs, I prefer to use crushed cornflakes as they add a bit more crunch. Otherwise, I do have a soft spot for panko breadcrumbs for adding that needed texture on the outside. Whatever you decide to use, it’ll sure it’ll still be good! Makes 10

12 eggs*
150g plain all purpose flour
180g finely crushed corn flakes (or dried breadcrumbs, panko)
800g breakfast sausagemeat (or use sausages with their casings removed)
Fresh thyme, finely chopped
Large pinch of paprika (optional)
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil (for frying)

  1. Put 10 of the eggs into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let them stand for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour out the hot water & refill the pan with ice cold water to cool the eggs.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggs and peel off the shells.
  4. Thoroughly combine the sausagemeat, thyme, spices & seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Divide the mix into 10 equal portions.
  5. Whisk the 2 remaining eggs in a small shallow bowl, put the flour into another small shallow bowl and place the crushed cornflakes onto a large plate.
  6. Take a portion of the sausagemeat & flatten it in the palm of your hand. Lat a boiled egg on top and wrap the meat around it so that it’s fully enclosed. Place it on a large baking tray or plate whilst you repeat with the remaining eggs and sausagemeat.
  7. Lightly roll the egg balls in the flour, dusting off any excess, then dip them into the beaten egg followed by the crushed cornflakes, so that they are fully coated.
  8. In a large heavy based pot or fryer, heat the oil to 190c/370f. In 2 or 3 batches, carefully lower the coated eggs into the oil and fry for about 4 minutes, turning them occasionally. Try to maintain a temperature of around 180c/350f. They should be crisp, golden and the meat should be cooked (if you have any doubts, just put the eggs into a hot oven for a few minutes.)
  9. Remove the scotch eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon & drain on some kitchen paper. Serve hot or cold.
*Egg sizes can really vary depending on your country. For this recipe, I’d probably suggest using a medium/large egg if you’re in the UK, a large egg if you’re in Québec, and an extra-large egg if you’re in Australia! Aiming for an egg somewhere near the 60-65g mark is your best bet, but it shouldn’t make too dramatic a difference in this recipe and it may be that you prefer a higher or lower egg to meat ratio anyways!1907516_541635649051_8524760013732589517_n11037002_541635708931_838481980965547079_n
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