Scotch eggs

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 450g/16oz sausage meat
  • 2 spring (green) onions, very finely chopped
  • A handful of breadcrumbs
  • A small handful of parsley or coriander, finely chopped
  • A small handful of plain flour for dusting the eggs
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Oil for frying
Scotch eggs

Freshly made, warm scotch eggs are dramatically better than their shop bought equivalents. Scotch eggs are fun, and quite easy to make - and because they can be enjoyed hot or cold, they make a great snack or treat.

As with all simple recipes there are a few basics you need to get right; firstly, use high quality sausage meat - it's very reasonably priced and makes a big difference to the taste, enjoyment and nutritional value of the snack. I usually buy some of my favourite lightly spiced pork (and leek) sausages, peel the skin off and use the meat inside as the foundation. I use coriander in the mix for the meat, as I enjoy the spice it adds, but if you prefer something milder use you can substitute this for parsley.

The other important thing is; boil the eggs for long enough so the whites go firm - but the yolk stays as soft as possible - add the eggs to simmering water and cooking for 7 minutes should be enough . A more robust egg white helps make encasing them easier, and a soft yolk helps balance out the drier sausage meat.

With a simple green salad and some chutney, a halved scotch egg makes an impressive starter too.

Method

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add four of the eggs and simmer the eggs for 7 minutes, or until soft boiled.
  2. Drain the water from the pan and allow the eggs to cool - it's easier to peel them when cool, and your hands will thank you too! In a mixing bowl add the sausage meat, finely diced spring (green) onions, the herbs, a generous sprinkling of pepper, and a pinch of salt. Combine these ingredients together in the bowl. Empty the sausage meat from the bowl onto a lightly floured chopping board and spread the sausage meat out until its a flat and has a depth of about 1in/2cm.
  3. Remove the now cooled eggs from the empty pan and peel them gently under some running cold water. Take care to avoid breaking the eggs apart as although they can be salvaged, it lets the visual side of the end result down a little. Once peeled lightly flour each egg - this stops them sticking to the meat.
  4.  Divide the sausage meat up into quarters and lift a quarter of the sausage meat into the palm of one hand, and place one egg gently in the centre and close the meat gently around the egg so its encased completely. Smooth the sausage meat out over the egg until it has no cracks, or visible joins and repeat for the other three quarters.
  5. Empty a small handful of the breadcrumbs onto a small plate.
  6. Crack the fifth egg into a cup and with a fork whisk the egg together to form a yellow glaze. Brush the glaze over each of the scotch eggs - this will help the breadcrumbs stick and stop the meat from cracking. Gently roll each scotch egg through the breadcrumbs, so each one is coated evenly. When done you shouldn't be able to see the sausage meat on any of the scotch eggs.
  7. Heat a pan of cooking oil - you only need the oil to be a few centimeters or a couple of inches deep as you can easily roll the scotch eggs over. Heat the oil to a medium-high heat, but not too high, as it will burn the breadcrumbs without cooking the meat inside.
  8. When the oil is hot, carefully lower each scotch egg into the oil and cook the four scotch eggs for ten minutes. The breadcrumbs should go golden brown, try to avoid burning them or again despite the taste being almost the same, they certainly won't look as good.
  9. After ten minutes - or until each scotch egg has turned a deep golden brown - carefully remove each scotch egg from the pan and dab any excess cooking oil off with some kitchen roll.

I personally love these served warm, quartered, and with some red onion chutney, or hot chili sauce for dipping as a starter. However if you let these (whole) eggs cool down, they should keep fresh for a few days in the refridgerator.

The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738.

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