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Scotch Eggs


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Scotch eggs used to be part of a traditional Scottish breakfast. They have now become a by-word for cheap, mass produced rubbish sold in plastic. Home made Scotch Eggs are in a different league and are especially good eaten outdoors at picnics.

The basic recipe is sausage meat wrapped around a hard boiled egg which is then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

This is a dish that needs good sausage meat. You are probably best using your favorite sausages and removing the skins. The recipe can be adapted in a number of ways:

* Adding onions, herbs and spices as described below.

* By making a 'garden' version with chopped spring onions, lots of parsley, sage and thyme.

* A spicy version with finely sliced red pepper, chilli and paprika.

* 100g of cubed stilton or smoked bacon can be added to the sausage meat.

* You can vary the coating by using polenta or oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs.

* Vegetarians? Use the Glamorgan Sausage recipe as the sausage meat or use a blend of mashed chick peas and cheese.

* My favorite is a black pudding version. This is easy to make - simply take a small black pudding (such as the baby puddings from RS Ireland) or a thick slice of black pudding, remove the skin and chop roughly. Mix this into the sausage meat and proceed as below (this is one of he eggs pictured).

* Lastly why not make any of the above with quails eggs? They will be much smaller and make excellent (and posh) party food.

Ingredients
5 eggs - the fresher the better, 4 for the scotch eggs and 1 for the coating
250 g plain pork sausage meat (if you are using sausage remove the skins by slitting them down one side, discard the skins)
Small onion, finely chopped
Spices and Herbs - this will depend on the sausage meat you are using. A tablespoon of parsley, a few thyme leaves and a few gratings of nutmeg or mace are a good starting point
Breadcrumbs (either home made or purchased from the supermarket)
Salt and black pepper
Peanut or sunflower oil for deep frying

Method

Hard-boil the eggs. Cover them in cold water, bring this to the boil and simmer gently for 8 minutes. Drain the water and cool the eggs under cold running water. Set the eggs aside and allow to cool

Fry the onion in butter or oil until softened and it is beginning to brown

Combine the sausage meat, cooked onions and herbs and season with salt and black pepper

Peel the cooled eggs

Divide the sausage meat into four portions and pat each piece out on a floured surface to a shape roughly the size of a adults hand (13 x 7 cm)

Place an egg in the centre of each piece and carefully gather up the sausage meat to cover the egg. Squeeze gently to seal the joins well and pat into shape

Coat the eggs one by one. First roll in beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs. To make a crisper shell you can repeat this process

If you have a deep fat fryer use this at 180 degrees to deep fry the scotch eggs. Alternatively heat (4 cm) of oil in a deep frying pan to a temperature of 180 degrees. (This is the temperature at which a small cube of bread will turn golden brown within a minute). Put the eggs into the oil and fry for 6-8 minutes, basting and turning frequently until they have turned a golden brown colour
Drain on kitchen towel to remove excess oil

They can be eaten straightaway but are best cold. If you are planning to serve them cold, wait until they are cold before cutting them. They are best cut just before serving

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