Why hello there! And Welcome once again to Kitchen Catastrophes, the blog that, quite likely, someone shared on Facebook and you read. I’m your host, Jon O’Guin, ebullient that we exceeded 100 views last week, and pretentious enough to use ebullient without proper warning. Today, we’re covering Scotch Eggs, one of my favorite bar foods. If you just want the recipe, click HERE. Otherwise, Let’s talk about some weird shit!
Part 1: In which Jon rambles Drunkenly.
Bar food. It’s a large parade of fried foods, burgers, French fries, tater tots, and fried foods. Now, as it may or may not surprise you to learn, I spend a fair bit of time in bars. I blame a wide range of factors for this, from my Irish heritage, to my poor impulse control, to my chosen career path. Theatre people drink a LOT. I hold it’s because there are two major groups of theatre people: the prima donnas, who need validation, and want to go to the parties to be seen and talk about how great they’ve been doing, and the rest of the cast, who need to go out, drink, and bitch about how much shit the prima donna puts them through.
Fun fact: the term ‘prima donna’ literally translates as “first lady”, and referred to the lead female in an opera company. The term evolved negative connotations because the prima donna tended to have the biggest fan following, meaning they could make more demands of the director and crew, because the opera wouldn’t want them to leave, which built into a whole cycle of more work equaled more attention equaled more demands, until everyone in the opera hated her, but they couldn’t afford to drop her.
And I assure you, that last paragraph is pretty much how I talk at bars. I’m like an Oxford Librarian got drunk on Trivia Night.
I am first and foremost, a thinker.
Anyway, one of my favorite bar foods I’ve never actually had in a bar. That’s because it’s more appropriately called “pub food”, because Scotch Eggs come from England. Kind of. There’s some small debate on this, that basically boils down to one of three options: Maybe it was invented by a food company in 1738 as a quick food to sell to rich people entering their carriages to go to their country estates; another theory ties it to the Indian nargisi kofta, which is…well, ground meat wrapped around a hardboiled egg; the last main theory is that it was an evolution of Cornish pasties. If you don’t know Cornish pasties , think old-timey Hot Pockets except more likely to be eaten by construction worker than college students. In any case, Scotch Eggs are a relatively simple dish in theory: Hardboil eggs, peel, wrap in sausage, cook. But, would this be Kitchen Catastrophes if something didn’t go wrong?
Part 2: Jon Loses His Cool.
Now, I used an ambiguous turn of phrase in the last section: I said “Cook”, rather than tell you which KIND of cooking you do. That’s because, until recently, all the Scotch Eggs I’d consumed had been deep-fried. This is great, because it lets the bar get a nice crust on them, and get them out to you quickly. It’s less so when you’re cooking at home. Most home cooks aren’t well-versed in deep-frying, and personally, I hate the extra work you have to go through with the oil. If you just throw away the oil, you’re being wasteful. If you want to keep it, you’ve got to strain it and funnel it back into a container. It is fine for big meals, or special occasions, but for a quick little appetizer? No sale, my friend. (Also, I’m sensitive around hot oil since a frying taquito exploded and painted a map of Indonesia on my arm in burns when I was a child)
So when I found a recipe that baked the Scotch eggs, I was excited. I could get the food I wanted without the risk of more searing geography lessons! Step one: Boil eggs. Easy peasy. I’ve found a lot of recipes that explain how to get “perfect soft/hard boiled eggs”, in the kind of pitched tones one normal reserves for steps to acquire the “Gold in them there hills”. So I read these enterprising directions: Boil the water. Then turn off the heat. Literally, the directions are “Try less.” Which were, of course, the wise words of my little league coach on how I could suck less. He was never clear if by “suck less”, he meant in my specific position, or life in general. But it was a lesson I tried to take to heart.
Fun fact: My dad coached my little league team. This picture of my brother in a little league outfit is unrelated.
Now, I let those bad boys sit in hot water for roughly 11 minutes, just a little over hard-boiled temperature. It made the eggs quite hot to handle, I can tell you, trying to crack them from their shells. I held the eggs under cool running water, but the heat kept forcing me to put the egg down halfway. It was quite frustrating. The only solace I had was delicately beating a fracture pattern into the eggs with a spoon, weakening their resistant, searing hide to be peeled from their succulent meats.
Too be honest, it’s not all it’s…CRACKED UP to be.
I ended up tapping one of the eggs too firmly, and my fat fingers tore the egg white, exposing the inner yolk. Would this screw up the egg’s cooking? I couldn’t know. I’d have to try as hard as I could, and hope for the best. My only solace was the firm yolk inside of course didn’t dribble out. Later, reading a different recipe, it pointed out that you DON’T want to fully cook baked Scotch Egg yolks, because of the, you know “going to cook them again” thing. Which was smart. It also meant that the very fact that made me happy seconds ago meant my eggs would be overcooked when I was done baking them. Very. Very. Good thinking. GODDAMN IT. YOU THINK YOU’RE SO GREAT? MR KNOW IT ALL? HUH? WITH YOUR PERFECT GODDAMN EGGS? I”LL CUT YOU. I’LL STUFF YOUR GODDAMN HOUSE WITH GODDAMN QUAIL EGGS, AND DROWN YOU IN THEIR ALBUMEN. SEE, I KNOW BIG WORDS TOO, ASSHOLE
Calm down, buddy. We’re all friends here.
Part 3: In which Jon pretends to be intellectual to hide laziness.
DON’T YOU TAKE HIS SIDE, TITLE JON!
In any case, sudden episodes of violent rage aside, and tranquilizers administered, it came time for the fun bit. You take the peeled egg, and wrap it in sausage. To do this, first you crush the sausage into a thin patty. I’m certain there are clean, hygienic ways to do this. Rolling it out with a pin, protecting the pin by sandwiching the patty between wax paper, that sort of thing. Me? I crushed it in one palm using the other fist. Then I laid it out, and flattened it out a little more gently. I even made a sort of work-in-progress picture of it!
It could also be a motion lapse picture of a meat-monster eating an egg.
Now, for me, one thing that was a continual problem was getting the sausage to close around the egg. You’ll fold the patty around the egg, and end up with…um…look, there’s no good way to say this: Excess meat flaps. But you’ll mold them together, and squeeze them. I found a slight, if mildly disgusting advantage here: By doing it by hand, I could gently rub the connected corners, melting the fat together. It kept me from overworking the meat, while sealing the eggs inside. Make sure to get the egg firmly wrapped by the meat. You don’t want air bubbles inside. You’ll see why later.
Anyway, the recipe I had called for the double-dredge method of putting the breadcrumbs on. For those not up on their food lingo, the double dredge is where you coat a wet protein with flour, then dip it in an egg, then roll it in the actual outer layer. It helps form a distinct space between meat and crust. You do it for fried chicken, a lot of Italian breaded chicken, basically anywhere the firmness of the crust is important. Which, personally, I didn’t think was a quality for Scotch Eggs. I’ve never marveled at the firm crust of a Scotch Egg. So I decided to experiment, and make half the proper way, and half with just rolling the sausage in breadcrumbs.
Now, while they were baking, I decided to get even MORE experimental, and immediately wrote a concept album to be played only by altering the time signatures of famous works from the 60’s, called “Quantum Funk.” Discarding that idea as too avant garde for its time, I decided to instead make a sauce for the Scotch Eggs. Now, I’ve read that what’s considered a ‘proper’ sauce is debateable. The first recorded recipe for Scotch Eggs serves them with brown gravy, for instance. But in my experience, nothing beats a nice mustard sauce. The sharp tang of the mustard cuts the richness of the egg and sausage. I looked at a couple recipes, and came to a standard formula: most mustard sauces are basically fry sauces with the ketchup swapped: Mayonnaise and Mustard. Lemon juice was another commonality, as well as some presence of spice (Cayenne, hot sauce, etc). I made 4 different sauces, based on two changing ingredients: I used 2 tbsps of mayonnaise and 2 tsp mustard with a dash of lemon juice. However, in half the sauces, I replaced 1 tbsp of normal mayo with chipotle mayo. Further, two sauces used straight yellow mustard, and two used Sweet-Hot mustard. My family universally preferred the sweet-hot and chipotle sauce. They were ALL serviceable, but that one had a nice complexity.
Cooking done, I pulled the Scotch Eggs out of the oven, and…well…You remember when I said make sure there’s not air bubbles? There was a reason for that.
It’s HATCHING. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
In the end, they were all fine. While the egg-bath eggs LOOKED better, they were pretty comparable in terms of texture and flavor. I’ll admit, between testing the crusts and the sauce, I consumed at least 3 of the 6 eggs in one sitting. The eggs also reheat fairly well, should your family not consume them all in one go. (If you can, set your microwave to about 50% power, and heat for a minute and thirty seconds.)
And that, my friends, was that. Two different experiments, only one explosion, and the knowledge that now, with only an hour of effort, I could have Scotch Eggs whenever I wanted. An ability I suspect I will only use for sporting events. SCIENCE.
As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to like us on facebook, follow us on Twitter where I’ll post random meal pics, ingredients for upcoming catastrophes, and discarded images from the catastrophe shoots. I wanna thank you for getting us over 100 views in one day, which is a cool milestone for me, and wish you all a great week. Feel free to send any comments, questions, or concerns to our emails (firstname.lastname@example.org), twitter, or facebook page. I assure you, we will see them.
Let’s get saucy!
NEXT TIME: MORE EGGS. SINFUL EGGS. ALSO, A BREAKFAST.
BAKED SCOTCH EGGS
1 lb sausage
¼ c breadcrumbs
- Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with water at least 1”. Personally, I spritz a little white vinegar in. It doesn’t do a ton, but if the egg whites leak out, it’ll keep them a little tame, and I feel like it weakens the shells a little. Bring water to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let the pot sit on the heat for around 8-9 minutes. Remove the eggs from the heat, and cool them off. Then peel the eggs. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Divide the sausage into 6 chunks, then flatten into patties. Wrap the eggs in the patties. Roll the sausage in the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet. Put in the oven for 45 minutes.
2 tbsp mayonnaise (As noted above, I used 1 tbsp normal Mayo, and 1 tbsp chipotle mayo for my preferred sauce.)
2 tsp mustard (Honestly, this is an estimate. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn it was closer to 3 tsps or even 1 tbsp. I just eyeballed it. Also, feel free to explore various mustards and find what you enjoy.)
½ tsp lemon juice.
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Serve. (Makes enough for about 4 halved eggs, so make 2 and let guests choose which they prefer)
If you make any cool mustard sauces, shoot them to us in the comments, and I’ll try them out!
Another fun potential activity: Apparently, there’s a couple variations on Scotch Eggs, such as the Worcester Egg (you soak the hardboiled egg in Worcestershire sauce) or the Manchester Egg (pickle the egg, and use a mix of pork and black pudding for the meat) If you try any fun or colorful variations, let us know!