Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The PERFECT Scotch Egg


mmmmmm gooey


I love food challenges. Various times I have been asked the universal Scotch egg question – “How do they get the egg in the meat? and the yolk is still runny?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND!” This conversation usually ended up with various suggestions of Scotch egg combinations as well as elaborate ‘how to’ ideas. 


Whilst the other conversation participants get bored and move on to *politics and polymer science, obviously I have taken it upon myself, with no reluctance and with much joy, to explore the egg mystery. 


*By ‘politics’, I mean cocktails; by ‘polymer science’, I mean biscuits.

You might notice that I have included the word ‘Perfect’ in the title. This, I must add, is not my own deduction. After much googling, I found that any toil I might have encountered on my eggy journey was halved by Felicity Cloake at the Guardian who has, kindly, extensively tested and created the perfect Scotch egg recipe. If it buggers up for you, blame her.

I changed a few things and decided to use both quails eggs and normal sized eggs for variety – no I would not recommend using them as canap├ęs or ‘bite size’ snacks (unless you have a massive gob or chop them into quarters) but make sure you make extra and don’t have breakfast because the ‘testing’ part of my eggventure took the lives of at least 2 little ones and one big. You know, testing the yolk consistency and stuff.

Recipe:

Quantities: I made quite a Scotch egg feast and doubled the recipe using 8 large eggs and 10 little ones. I presume that most people don’t have Scotch egg parties that often (shamefully) so have used the original quantities below:

Kitchen stuff:
Clingfilm
Multiple bowls
Deep frying pan (or a big wok)
Loads of space

Ingredients:
8 Large Eggs (you’re keeping a couple of the eggs for post sausage meet so don’t cook them)
Or 15 quails eggs (and two large eggs for coating)
200g plain sausagemeat (or 200g sausages)
200g pork mince
3 - 4 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used sage, parsley and thyme fresh from the garden. I know, awesome.)
A pinch of ground mace
½ tbsp English mustard
½ tbsp. grainy mustard
Splash of milk
50g flour
100g panko breadcrumbs (SO much crispier than normal crumbs)
Vegetable oil, for frying


1. BOILING EGGS
Get a big bowl of ice cold water ready

Big eggs: Put two eggs aside. Bring a pan of water to the boil with some salt. Pierce your eggs, if you don’t have a 35 year old vintage egg piercer like I do (less glam than it sounds) then use a safety pin or needle and pierce the fat blobby end of the egg. This helps release air when the egg goes in the water and stops it from cracking and spilling your lovely whites in the water.
Very soft boiled but Scotch egg ready – 6 minutes (you don’t want it to fall apart in your hands when wrapping them in meat)
Gooey middle but not runny – 7.5 mins
Hard boiled but not dry and nasty – 10 mins.
My good friend Jamie Oliver has provided a little diagram which I have stolen and used below for those not familiar with my yolk descriptions. Thanks Jim.

Take your eggs out with a slotted spoon as soon as your pinger goes off and immediately plunge them in the icy water. Let them hang out there whilst you sort out your meat. This applies to the little eggs too.

Quails eggs:  If you are using quails eggs and want them VERY soft, do 2 or 2.5 minutes, for slightly gooey hard boiled do 3 – 3.5 mins.



2. SAUSAGE MEAT: If you are using sausages rather than a bag of butchers sausage meat (I did) – grab the end of the sausage skin and squeeze out the meat into a bowl. Do this with all your sausages. Put all the meat, chopped herbs, mace and mustard into the bowl, season and mix well with your hands. Divide into six balls.

3. EGGS: Carefully peel your eggs and pop them in a bowl. If they are soft boiled, be especially careful not to squeeze them too much and break the whites. Beat the two raw eggs together in a small bowl with a splash of milk. Put the flour in a second small bowl and season with salt and pepper, then tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl. Arrange in an assembly line – flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

4. MEETING OF THE SCOTCH AND THE EGG: Put a square of clingfilm on the worksurface, and flour lightly. Put one of the meatballs in the centre, and flour lightly, then put another square of cling film on top. Roll out the meat until large enough to encase your egg and remove the top sheet of clingfilm (keep the clingfilm for the next one)

5. OIL PREP: Fill a large pan a third full of vegetable oil (I used a big wok…), and heat to 170C (or when a crumb of bread fizzles and turns golden, but does not burn).

6. EGGS ASSEMBLE! Wash your hands. To assemble the egg, roll one peeled egg in flour, then put in the centre of the meat. Bring up the sides of the film to encase it, and smooth it into an egg shape with your hands- again be careful if soft boiled as you don’t want to burst the egg. Dip each meaty egg lightly in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, then egg and then breadcrumbs.

This is what a Scotch egg pre-party looks like

You might form a large mass of eggy breadcrumbs that will coat your entire hands but just smoosh a layer of this on to your eggs for extra crispiness if you wish.

7. FRYING: Cook the large eggs 2 or 3 at a time, for seven minutes, until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper before serving. Quails eggs take 5 minutes. Let them cool for a minute, then chop one open to see if your yolk is as desired. 

I won't pretend I went for hard-boiled - tried for gooey yolks and over did them. Good. 

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