I’m super into British mystery books – Dick Francis, Elizabeth George, but not Agatha C… sorry! – and TV shows like Midsomer Murders and the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. I love the accents, the Queen’s English, the tweed and Wellies, the reliance on hot tea as a cure-all, and the moody weather.
The food? Meh.
But I’ve always been curious about Scotch eggs, and last week, I made a batch. Blimey! They’re brilliant!
First, a definition and some history. In case you’ve never had the pleasure, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep fried. They’re often eaten cold – perhaps in a picnic out on the moors or the heath – and were invented by the legendary London department store Fortnum & Mason (founded in 1707 and well-known for the gourmet picnic baskets it sold to Victorian high society for hoity-toity events like the Henley Regatta and Ascot Races).
In England, pre-packaged Scotch eggs are standard in roadside service stations, kinda like beef jerky here in the U.S. In India, they eat a curried version called nargisi kofta, and at the Minnesota State Fair, Scotch eggs are served on a stick. Of course. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for those delicious bites of trivia.)
Here in my Austin kitchen, I wanted to make a dino-chow version, which meant the breadcrumbs were O-U-T. Here’s what I did.
Serves 4-8 | Prep 15 min | Cook 30 min
2 pounds ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 1 tablespoon) 1 tablespoon dried chives
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
8 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 bag (2 ounces) fried pork rinds (optional)
2 large eggs, raw (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, tarragon, parsley, chives, and garlic. Knead with your hands until well mixed.
3. Divide the pork mixture into 8 equal servings. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it in your palm into a pancake shape. Wrap the meat around a hard-boiled egg, rolling it between your palms until the egg is evenly covered. This is much easier than it sounds. If the meat sticks to your hands, moisten them with a little water. Place the meat wrapped eggs on the baking sheet.
4. If using the pork rinds, place them in the bowl of the food processor and process until they resemble bread crumbs; pour them onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat the 2 raw eggs. Gently roll each meatball in pork rind crumbs; you want just a thin dusting. Then roll each meatball in the raw egg and roll a second time in the crushed pork rinds to evenly coat. Place on the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 F and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until the eggs are golden brown and crisp.
Believe it or not, technique can matter with hard-boiled eggs. Here’s how I make them, courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated. This recipe ensures creamy yolks and easier peeling. Place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Cook over high heat until the water boils, then cover, turn off the heat, and let the eggs site in the hot bath for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes are up, drain off the hot water and tap each egg on the counter to crack the shell. Cover the eggs with cold water for 5 minutes, then drain again and place in the fridge ’til cooled. If you use very fresh eggs, they can be almost impossible to peel, so this is a good way to use up eggs that have been in the fridge for a while.
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