Friday, March 1, 2013

Scotch Eggs

Photo by Steve Shanahan

First published Canberra Times, 13 February 2013

Always looking for innovative picnic food, I came across an old recipe of mine for scotch eggs. These retro globes seem to have vanished off the face of the earth as a popular food and were all the rage when I was a kid, along with Tupperware and Globite school bags.

The likely fall from favour of the scotch egg was probably that they were deep fried. This recipe is baked in the oven, with the additional kick of a few extra herbs and spices.

The other reason to drag my recipe into the twenty first century was because a friends’ ravenous teenage boy came to stay with us and he tried a scotch egg for the first time. The double protein hit of meat and egg provided perfect finger food fodder for his school lunch box.

For this demographic, if you really want to hit the spot, split a bread roll in half, remove some of the bread from the middle of each half and nestle the scotch egg inside the roll. Add a good squirt of sauce and you have enough protein and carbs to keep the wolf from the door for a teenage boy’s school lunch or his after school fridge raid.

Serves 4

5 large free range organic eggs
½ cup flour
sea salt and ground black pepper
100g Krummies crumbs or dried breadcrumbs
400g best quality sausages
1 rasher of finely chopped bacon
1 tsp chopped thyme
1tbsp finely chopped parsley
good pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a tray with baking paper.

Place 4 eggs into a large saucepan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce it to a simmer and cook the eggs for 8 minutes.

Drain the saucepan and run the eggs under cold water from the tap, then peel them and set aside. You can do this step ahead of time and leave the eggs in the fridge, unpeeled till you are ready.

Meanwhile, place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate and season with salt and pepper. Break the remaining egg into a second bowl and beat lightly. Place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl and line up all the bowls in a row, starting  with the flour bowl, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs bowl.

Squeeze the sausage meat out of their casings into a bowl and discard the sausage casings. To the sausage meat, add the bacon, thyme, parsley, nutmeg and cayenne pepper, mixing with your hands until evenly combined.

To assemble the eggs, flour your hands, then scoop out a large ball of sausage meat and flatten it into an oval shape in your hand. Wrap the sausage meat around the egg, pinching it together at the seam, smoothing the meat around the eggs, making sure there are no gaps where the egg is peeking through.

Dredge the sausage-covered egg in the flour, tapping off any excess. Set the wrapped egg on the lined baking tray, repeating the process with the remaining eggs.

Once all the eggs are wrapped in their sausage blankets and floured, dip each one in the beaten egg, making sure it all gets coated, then roll it in the breadcrumbs, ensuring it’s fully covered in crumbs, pressing gently. Place the finished egg back on the lined baking tray, then repeat with the remaining eggs.

Place the eggs in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are crispy and the sausage is cooked through. The surface of the scotch eggs should be crazed, cracked and crunchy.

Scotch eggs can be eaten warm, cold or at room temperature and make perfect lunch box or picnic food. Store in the fridge for up to three days.