The great British Scotch Egg scramble

Is it a snack? Is it a starter? Is it substantial? Its a f****ng Scotch Egg!

 Does it really take a pandemic to bring a much loved and often forgotten ( shall we call it a picnic item ) out from the dark shadows of a corner shop chill cabinet and put it in the spotlight front stage? As England came out of lockdown (partially) this week this delicious little chappie found himself the centre of a furore over whether pubs were serving a "substantial meal." It left the nation transfixed by the designation of an egg. This quintessential menu item has become the most unlikely focal point of political debate over coronavirus restrictions in England, drawing to attention yet again the British government´s inconsistent message amid the pandemic. Its just three weeks till the end of the Brexit transition and that  government is trying to work out the status of a Scotch egg. It beggars belief, the surrealism of it. This ludicrous debate boils down to the grey area of what constitutes a scotch egg. The answer to the question depended on which politician you asked when. Goofy Govey started with a hard boiled approach and then softened, while useless Eustice decreed  a scotch egg probably is, because it’s a starter, apparently. It could constitute a substantial meal as long as there was table service. God help us!!  In simpler times it would have been straightforward; a hard or soft boiled egg enveloped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs, then deep fried or baked, but now they want to know much sustenance it has. For a start Scotch Eggs vary in size, weight and calorific value. The confusion surrounding this small egg and meat based snack is purely a financial matter. It is a decision as to whether the  the British government has to pay publicans"beer money." to stay closed. Well the good news is you can make it at home, but before you swan off to the kitchen to replicate this ubiquitous pub classic, a little bit of history.


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 common 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 have researched a wide variety of meats for the shell, beef, pork, chouriço 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 - how disappointed was I ?. 

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 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.

Comments

Popular posts