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Picnic Ready Classic Scotch Eggs

To make this beloved bar and picnic snack, soft-boiled eggs are wrapped in a layer of sausage meat and a dusting of breadcrumbs, then fried until golden and crispy. They should be sliced in half then either eaten on their own, or with English mustard and a little chutney.

There are several competing theories as to where the Scotch egg originates, and curiously the one thing agreed on most is that this dish is not Scottish in origin. That much is inconsequential now, though, as the name association alone has made it a proud part of Scottish cuisine.

Serves: 5
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 8–12 hours chilling
Cook time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 100g white onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 300g sausage meat
  • 150g (2/3 cup) minced (ground) pork shoulder
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) wholegrain mustard
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) Dijon mustard
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) apple cider
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons full-fat (whole) milk
  • 75g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • salt and pepper
Scotch eggs. (Phaidon/Ben Mervis)

Method

Heat the rapeseed (canola) oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the diced onion, thyme and rosemary and cook for 7–10 minutes until softened.

Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly, then add the sausage meat, minced (ground) pork shoulder, mustards and cider to the bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, weigh the sausage mix into 5 x 100g balls and set them aside. Have a large bowl of iced water nearby. Fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full of water and bring to the boil. Carefully add the eggs and cook for 5 1/2 minutes exactly, before putting them into the bowl of iced water to cool. Alternatively, cool them under cold running water.

Peel the eggs, then form the sausage mix around the eggs, while maintaining its approximate shape.

Put the egg yolks and milk into a shallow bowl and beat together, then put the flour into another shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs into a third shallow bowl.

Cover each ‘egg’ in the flour, followed by the egg wash and finally the breadcrumbs. Dip once more into the egg wash before covering with a second layer of the breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

Heat enough vegetable oil for deep frying in a large, deep saucepan or deep fryer until it reaches 180°C on a thermometer. Working in batches, carefully lower the Scotch eggs into the hot oil and deep-fry for three to five minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for eight minutes. Eat warm or cold.

In The British Cookbook, author and food historian Ben Mervis takes readers on a mouth-watering culinary tour across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, revealing a cuisine as diverse as the landscape from which it originates.

The British Cookbook by Ben Mervis is available now from phaidon.com.

What’s your favourite snack to take to a picnic? Let us know in the comments section below.

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