09 October, 2013

Scotch Eggs

One of the things I've always found sort of funny about this food is that Scotch Eggs aren't Scottish at all.  They were invented (or so they claim) in London by Fortnum & Mason WAY back in the early 1700's.  They were made as a quick "all in one" sort of food to eat while you were on the go.  These days, they are considered a picnic food in the UK.  They are served in pretty much every corner of the world, even in Minnesota.  I've seen them pictured on a flyer for the Minnesota State Fair; except in TRUE MN style...they were being served on a stick.  Don't ask...

Most of the time they are served with a mustard sauce of sorts, which of course varies from region to region.  The ONE thing people can't seem to get right is that Brits don't over spice their food stuffs.  They like to keep things simple, so any recipe you find online or elsewhere that calls for anything but "pork mince" (ground pork) or "sausage mince" (ground pork sausage) is someone makin' something up themselves.  Americans and their spicing to death of perfectly wonderful foods really gets on my nerves sometimes.  Let the ingredients speak for themselves!  They do have a story to tell all their own.  Then there is the egg.  You can use chicken eggs or a now popular egg is a quail egg, which allows you to make more of an appetizer sized portion of Scotch Egg, rather than a meal sized portion.  The other ingredients are simple and include beaten egg, flour and bread crumbs.  Not seasoned bread crumbs...just bread crumbs. 

For my Scotch eggs I picked a chicken egg, an organic breakfast pork sausage, regular AP flour and a plain bagel.  Yeah, you read it...a bagel.  I whizzed it through my food processor and used a lonely, little bagel for my bread crumbs when I made my eggs.  So here we go...this is what you'll need to make yourself some fabulous Scotch Eggs!

Scotch Eggs
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
water for boiling
1 lb. pork mince or organic pork sausage, casings removed
3 eggs, scrambled
1 c. all purpose flour
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 bagel, broken down into crumbs
vegetable oil for frying
good, sturdy metal tongs!!  gotta have 'em!!

First things first...  Cook those eggs!  I like my egg yolks to still be runny when I crack my eggs open.  So I soft boil them.  I start them out on the stove in cold water with 1/2 tsp. baking soda mixed in (helps the shell come off without a fight, trust me) on medium high heat.  Let them cook just until the water begins to boil then remove them from the heat and let them sit for 2 minutes.  Then drain the water out straight away and shock them in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.  Crack, then peel the eggs under cold running water.  Set aside and allow them to cool in the fridge until they are cold to the touch.

In a medium sized saucepan, bring 4 c. of oil to 350 F.  **Because cooking these properly requires you to maintain a steady temperature of 350 F during the cooking process, cook the Scotch Eggs ONE at a time once you begin to drop them in.

Prepare 3 bowls on your counter along with a couple sheets of waxed paper and a plate with waxed paper on it.  Now is the time to remove the casings from your pork mince/breakfast sausage and divide it into 4 equal portions.  Set the 4 balls of meat aside on a piece of the waxed paper.  On another sheet press a ball of meat into a 5 inch diameter circle...making sure it is pretty thin.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make when cooking these is to make your meat layer TOO thick.  It won't cook all the way through, and then your egg never warms up in the center again.  No bueno!

Prepare your bowls by adding the flour and some sea salt and pepper to the flour...just a small amount.  It helps to bring out the natural flavors of the egg.

In your second bowl, that's where you want your scrambled eggs.  In third bowl, as pictured, should be your bread crumbs.  

That is pretty thin, but don't freak out...you can do this!  Simply take one of your peeled eggs and roll it around in the seasoned flour first.  This helps bind the egg more securely in the meat, so when you cut it open the egg doesn't let loose from the meat.  Now comes the fun part.  Wrapping the flour covered egg in the meat.  Just realize you're gonna be a brilliant mess when this is over and move on...

Hold the round of meat, waxed paper and all, in the palm of your hand and holding the piece of wax paper, bend the meat towards the egg and press it lightly onto the egg.  Let go of the paper completely and find the corner.  In gentle spurts, tug the waxed paper off of the meat.  Repeat that at all four corners of the waxed paper.  Then, once the meat has been mostly secured onto the egg, smooth the meat, filling in any gaps...and removing extra if there seems to be too much in places...until you have a smooth surface and are holding what looks like a giant egg made out of meat.  Do this to all four of your eggs before you move onto dipping them into the beaten egg and bread crumbs.

Next roll your giant eggs of meat around in the beaten egg and then straight into the bread crumbs, making sure you cover them generously and pat it on if you have to.  Let the excess fall off.  Set each egg onto a plate covered in waxed paper as you bread them.  When you have breaded all four eggs, it is time to move onto the shortest and EASIEST part of the recipe...the FRYING!

Ready a plate with a couple thick paper towels to catch the oil when you set your cooked eggs on it.  Now, USING TONGS (NOT your hands), carefully place the breaded egg into the oil.  It will need to fry for about 4 minutes or so.  It will be medium to almost what *I* would call "dark" brown.  You might even be able to smell the cooked meat when you roll the egg around to check each side.  This will be closer to the time you need to remove it.

When you're ready, slice into one and see how it looks.  I recommend doing that within 5 minutes of them being cooked.  When they stop crackling on the cooling plate, you're good to go!

Please excuse the quality of that shot.  I am not sure why but, I only took a picture with my cell for this egg.  But either way, that is the level of yolk runniness I was trying to achieve.  If you don't like your yolks being your "sauce" for the eggs, boil them longer in the boiling step at the beginning of the process.

But...I was home alone, so...what to do with the other 3 eggs??  Toss them in the fridge, that's what!  Now, to reheat uneaten eggs just preheat your oven to 425 F and wait 10 minutes.  Then pop them in there for 10 minutes, unless you are paranoid about the yolks not being warmed through...then do what you like; whatever makes you comfortable.  But, in the name of all that is Holy....do NOT microwave these.  What a waste that would be!

This is how the yolks look after being refrigerated a couple days and heated up again in the oven.

Perfectly fine, that's what!  Still a tad on the soft boiled side, which is how I love them, and more importantly they still taste like a slam bang way to tell your tummy to shut it!!

If you eat these for breakfast....whether you used regular pork mince or sausage mince, you can try having them with a healthy drizzle of some organic maple syrup.  For lunch or dinner, I totally recommend a nice Mustard Horseradish Sauce.  The recipe for that is SUPER easy...

Mustard Horseradish Sauce
1/3 c. mayo or veganaise
1/4 c. grain mustard
2 tsp. grated horseradish

Stir that all together with a spoon and get to dippin'!!  **I like my mustard BOLD.  If you don't like grain mustard, use whatever you like.  If you can't handle horseradish, skip it!  The world is your oyster....or in this case, your EGG!!  Enjoy!

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