Monday, 18 April 2011

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Chouriço scotch eggs, the perfect picnic partner
Last week I posted a recipe for Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall´s home made Chouriço: It proved to be a huge success ( pictured above), so I got my Chef Holmes head on and decided to investigate the development of this perfect mini fry-up and then as a result of my research decided to make an Easter 2011 take on the ubiquitous pub classic that has now raised its game to gastro pub standard.
I am always drawn to recipes that have a historical reference, have travelled, suffered a transition through cultural compromise but survived the journey and kept their true identity. The Scotch egg started its journey in India. The Nargisi Kofta is the classic North Indian Scotch egg and dates back centuries. The Nargisi Kofta is a variation of the more coomon lamb kofta and is made from a combination of game meats -  venison, hare and wild boar. Boiled eggs are encased in a keema mixture and the kofta/kebab which  results is  either deep-fried or put into a gravy and cooked as part of a curry. The combination of keema and egg should not necessarily work but it always does, whether in Scotch eggs or in Indian cooking.Over the years and continents nations have combined a variety of meats to make their own version, depending on what meat they had at their disposal.I am now so happy now to have re-discovered ovos à escocesa here in Portugal.
The mystery has been cracked and the evidence unscrambled so now lets cook shall we....The majority of Portuguese recipes for Scotch eggs, Bolinhos de Carne Moída com Ovo de Codorna,use Quails eggs.Interestingly enough the range of Portuguese recipes I have researched use a wide variety of meats for the shell,beef pork and even minced chicken.I loved Scotch eggs from the first time my mother made me eat one. I was very young and not ready for the surprise of finding an egg inside a meatball.It was like some kind of Kinder experience, the only difference was the surprise was encased in meat not plastic, and there was no chocolate - boo hoo.



These eggs are great to take to a picnic or a buffet and are economic.And now in true new style Nigel Slater- I give you the recipe, the trick and the twist

THE ( Traditional )RECIPE
Makes 12
12 large free range eggs 
5 slices white bread, crusts removed
200ml milk
1kg minced meat of your choice ( 1/2 and 1/2 veal and pork?)
1 free range egg beaten
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Flor de sal
freshly ground black pepper
 Put the eggs in a large pan of hot water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes from the moment the water starts boiling.Immediately drain and plunge the eggs into ice cold water to stop further cooking and a grey line forming round the yolk. Cool and peel.Soak the bread in the milk for a minute. Drain and squeeze dry. combine the bread and sausage meat in a bowl, using your hands. Add the beaten egg, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.Mix together until well combined. Put the mix in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Take it out and divide it onto 4 equal pieces, then divide each piece into 3. Hold one portion in the palm of your hand, flatten it out with the heel of your other hand and sit an egg in the centre. Fold the mince over the egg and squeeze it into a larger egg shape. Repeat with the remaining eggs. If the mince sticks to your hands, moisten them with a little cold water. Roll each scotch egg in a little flour, then in the beaten egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Squeeze the eggs gently to ensure the crumbs stick.Heat a deep fryer or saucepan with at least 10cm of cooking oil.When it reaches 170ºC, put in the eggs, a few at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. repeat with the remaining eggs. Cool them completely, then store in the fridge for up to two days.


THE TRICK
If you dislike or just don´t deep fry, and lets face it it´s had some bad press of late, there is another way to do it. Bake the Scotch eggs in a muffin tray. No crumbing, no deep- frying, no complications. real simple really.Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Lightly oil a 12 hole muffin tray.Press some meat mix into the bottom of each muffin mould. Add the egg pointed end up, and pack the meat around and over the egg so that it is completely covered.Omit the Flour egg and breadcrumb stage then bake for 20 minutes until nicely browned. leave in the moulds for 10 minutes. Drain off any juices, run a knife carefully around to loosen and serve hot, warm or cold.


THE TWIST
I have added a different twist by introducing some pan-asian flavouring.
Ginger and spring onions, and lemongrass.
Scotch quails eggs with a Thai twist
FOR 12 EGGS
12 quail´s eggs

600g Pork mince

1 thumb of ginger peeled and finely grated
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
1 tablespoon of Nam Pla ( Thai fish sauce )
1 teaspoon Flor de sal
2 small hot chillies, piri piri or birds eye, de-seeded
large handful fresh coriander
1stick of lemongrass, trimmed of its tough outer stalks and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
a little flour (100g )
1 egg lightly beaten
200g fresh breadcrumbs


Place the quail´s eggs in a small saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes, then drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water. This stops the tell tale grey line forming around the yolk. Peel them carefully using your nails or a fine pointed sharp knife to dislodge the membrane. One word of warning this is labour intensive and can be frustrating.Put the pork mince in a bowl with the first 8 ingredients.Mix together until well combined. put the mix in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Take it out and divide it onto 4 equal pieces, then divide each piece into 3. Hold one portion in the palm of your hand, flatten it out with the heel of your other hand and sit a quail´s egg in the centre. Fold the mince over the egg and squeeze it into a larger egg shape. Repeat with the remaining eggs. If the mince sticks to your hands, moisten them with a little cold water. Roll each scotch egg in a little flour, then in the beaten egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Squeeze the eggs gently to ensure the crumbs stick. Heat a deep fryer or saucepan with at least 10cm of cooking oil.When it reaches 170ºC, put in the eggs, a few at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. repeat with the remaining eggs. Cool them completely, then store in the fridge for up to two days.


3 comments:

  1. This looks GORGEOUS and as I have all the ingredients,it may grace the table today..I have been thinking about scotch eggs for ages so no more excuses.Thanks Rupert.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Was reminded of this link again on today's The Perfect . . . once again, you are a genius, Mr K!

    ReplyDelete