Scotch Eggs

02Oct09

I come from a very proud Scottish family. Some of my favorite comfort foods are old Scottish classics, and scotch eggs are one of my very favorite things to make. A scotch egg consists of a hardboiled egg that has been peeled, and then wrapped in sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried in oil. They make great appetizers, and they are a great portable breakfast as well. You can serve them hot or cold, and in the UK they are sometimes sold as picnic eggs.

I prefer to eat mine piping hot with lots of Colman’s Hot Mustard. Colman’s has a really nice kick to it, with an almost horseradish-like ability to clear out your sinuses. And yet, it is also very flavorful.

This recipe is a little tricky. You need just enough sausage to coat the outside of the egg: too much sausage, and it will be hard to cook all the way through. But use too little, and the sausage will expose the egg. I recommend cooking scotch eggs twice to ensure that the sausage is fully cooked: once in hot oil, and then baked in the oven. If you are very concerned about food safety, microwave the eggs after the hot oil bath, but before you begin to bake them. About 3-4 minutes on high should be adequate, but watch to make sure they don’t explode!

Scotch Eggs
You will need…

6 eggs
1.5 – 2 lbs pork sausage, ground and not in casings
about 1 cup bread crumbs (While not strictly traditional, I prefer panko-style breadcrumbs)
2+ cups peanut or olive oil

Hardboil the eggs, submerge in ice water, and peel. Wrap each egg in sausage by taking a ball of sausage about the size of the egg and flattening it into a patty. Once each egg has been completely encased in sausage, roll in breadcrumbs. In a pot or deep-fryer, bring the oil up to just below the smoke point. The oil should be about 1.5 inches deep in the pan; enough to come up the sides of the eggs, but not quite enough to submerge them completely. The oil is ready for frying when it makes gentle plonking noises and any breadcrumbs you toss in are immediately met with a sizzle. Gently lower the sausage-wrapped eggs into the oil, cooking only two at a time. Remove eggs once each is golden brown, setting into a baking dish.

Once all the eggs have been fried, place them in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. The eggs are done when dark brown on the outside and completely cooked through when cut into. Serve cut in half or into quarters with a side of hot mustard, ranch dressing, or hot sauce.

A NOTE ON SAUSAGE

Your local grocery store likely sells predominantly Italian Hot and Italian Sweet sausage. I prefer hot sausage, but the sweet is also nice. If you are using store-bought sausage, I would recommend that you fold in several sprigs worth of fresh thyme, sage, some cracked black pepper, and some chopped fresh parsley before wrapping the eggs.

One great sausage recipe for the ambitious home cook can be found in Feasts for All Seasons by Roy Andries de Groot. In my edition, his recipe for “Our Homemade Country Sausage” is on page 179. If you don’t have a meat grinder at home, you can ask your local butcher to grind the meat for you.

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