Scotch Eggs Are U.K’s Hottest Snack: Here’s How to Make Them

The scotch egg, a traditional hearty snack, is enjoying its moment in the sun after a U.K. minister suggested it was a substantial meal.

That would have met a pandemic requirement that drinks could only be served with a meal in pubs and restaurants. The further tightening of virus lockdown rules this week,  with most hospitality venues now closed, mean it’s a moot point, but you can still enjoy scotch eggs at home.

Never has this simple dish of an egg encased in sausage meat and breadcrumbs been so appealing. The food company Brakes this month reported a 10-fold increase in demand, according to the Guardian.

Scotch eggs have been with us for a long time. The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims it invented them in 1738 as a snack for travelers. Alternatively, they may have made a first appearance in Whitby, in the north of England. But the antecedents are much older.  Scotch eggs bear an uncanny resemblance to a Moghul dish, Nargisi Kofta, of hard-boiled eggs wrapped in kofta meat.

So why “scotch” if the egg dish doesn’t come from Scotland? According to the Edinburgh Tourist website, that’s because the process of mincing meat used to be known as scotching. There are other theories, but let’s get to the recipe.

Scotch Eggs Are U.K’s Hottest Snack: Here’s How to Make Them

This was provided by Richard H. Turner, a butcher and restaurateur who is co-owner of butchers Turner & George, a director of the
Meatopia food festival and consultant chef to the Hawksmoor and Blacklock restaurant groups. He’s the author of fine cookbooks, including Hog, which includes a version of the recipe here. (“Hog, proper pork recipes from the snout to the squeak” is published by Mitchell Beazley, www.octopusbooks.co.uk.)

I expected the recipe to be more difficult than it was. I found that wrapping the meat around the egg wasn’t tricky at all. I tried using a rolling pin to flatten the meat before realizing it is simpler to use my hands.

Scotch Eggs Are U.K’s Hottest Snack: Here’s How to Make Them

The difficult bit is the timing of the cooking of the eggs. I use an induction hob that temporarily switches itself off when it reaches the required temperature, which makes it a bit tricky to maintain the boiling point. The yolks were a little firmer than I expected. But please note Richard’s view on this vital matter: “Runny yolks are a new chef thing, I’m not sure I agree with them.”

One of the great things about using sausage meat is that you can pretty much add what you like to suit your taste. So I chucked in some curry powder second time round and enjoyed the spiciness. 

Ingredients:

5 large free-range eggs

50 grams (1.8 ounces) seasoned flour

300g sausage meat

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

100g fresh breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Preparation:

Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 Fahrenheit), gas mark 6.

Place four of the eggs in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for exactly three minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool in the water, peel and set aside.

Dust the boiled eggs in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Mix in the parsley with the sausage meat, add the Worcestershire sauce and divide the meat into four equal portions.

Form each portion into a flat cake large enough to fit around the egg then work the sausage meat around the egg as evenly as possible while keeping the egg shape and making sure there are no cracks. Place the scotch eggs in the fridge for twenty minutes to set up.

Remove from the fridge and roll in the seasoned flour followed by the remaining egg, beaten, then into the crumbs making sure to coat well at each stage.

In a deep pan, heat the oil to 180°C then fry the scotch eggs in the oil turning frequently for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs and place them in the preheated oven for five minutes or until golden brown all over.

Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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