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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Frank About... Scotch Eggs! with Carol Parker

One of my favorite foods to make around St. Patrick's Day, or anytime really, is Scotch eggs! They are the British and Irish pub fare of sausage encased hard boiled eggs, breaded and baked or fried. At one point a couple of decades ago, they fell out off vogue and were banished to mainly petrol stations in the U.K. However, recently they have been surging in popularity.

The origins of the eggs seemingly have very little to do with Scotland. There are actually three accepted stories of how they came to exist:

Firstly, Fortnum & Mason, a luxury food emporium in the Piccadilly area of London, claim to have invented the food in 1738 as a portable snack for its affluent clientele to take on their coach rides back to their countryside estates. Fortnum & Mason specialized in prepared and portable foods at that time, and still operate today.

Secondly, it is believe that Scotch eggs are a version of the Indian dish Nargisi Kofta, an egg encased in minced lamb and simmered in a curry sauce. During the 1600s, the East India Company was formed to facilitate trade between England and India. British soldiers were part of this company that would eventually begin the British Empire rule of India. It is thought that these soldiers traveling back to England brought the dish with them and recreated their own version.

Lastly, Scotch eggs are thought to simply be a northern (Scottish) variation of the Cornish pasty. In other words, it is a poor man's food for workers, farmers, and miners. Similar to the idea behind cottage pies and other hand-held savory pastries, it has a lot of protein in a little package and can be eaten fresh and hot, or cold later in the day, and easily wrapped and packed around in the pocket, basket, or bag. Basically, they would have been made of leftover meat, minced and ground into a mincemeat or forcemeat, and leftover eggs.

Other theories surrounding the name of the dish deal with the possible original name "Scotched Egg", where Scotched is thought to mean that something was done to the egg, a fairly vague use of that term. Also, some have found recipes and texts suggesting that adding anchovies to anything would result in being called "Scotched", and is supported by the fact that anchovies could be part of the forcemeat used to encase the eggs during that period.

As with many food origins, I personally believe that all these theories are most likely true to some extent. What I do know for certain.. these things are delicious! They are not very difficult to make, so I urge you to give them a try!

I am going to show Carol Parker how to make them, this afternoon on KSN 16's Living Well at 4:00pm. Once the video goes up on their site, I will embed it here:

Scotch Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
1 lb. sage flavored pork sausage
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1 C. bread crumbs

1.  Separate the sausage into six equal portions, and form balls with them. 
2.  Take one in your hand and with your thumbs, start an indentation in the middle of the 
     sausage. Start working it into a cup shape. 
3.  Place and egg into the "cup" of sausage and began working the sausage around the
     egg. Make sure the sausage stays an even thickness all around the egg. 
4.  Place the completed sausage/egg balls back into the refrigerator as you repeat for the
     remaining eggs. 
5.  Beat the two eggs and water together, and place into a bowl. Add some seasoning, as
     desired, into the egg bowl, such as salt and pepper. Place the breadcrumbs into another 
6.  Take one of the eggs and dip into the egg and water mixture. Remove with a spoon, to
     the breadcrumbs. Roll the egg around to get a nice even coating. Repeat with the other
     five eggs. 
7.  Repeat step 6, to put a second layer of breadcrumbs on the eggs. 
8.  Let rest for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator in order to firm up the coating layers. 
9.  Heat frying oil to 375°F. 
10. One at a time, carefully place the coated egg into the oil. If using a deep fryer, use an 
      appropriate utensil to periodically rotate the egg around. When the egg appears a light
      brown, in approximately 5 minutes, remove to plate with paper towels. Drain. 
      **Alternatively, the Scotch eggs can be baked in the oven at 400°F for 25-30 minutes.**
11. Once all the eggs are cooked, gently split in half with a sharp knife. Serve with a stone-
      ground mustard. 

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