Tuesday 4 September 2012

Eggstra, Eggstra!

As today I was able to announce that I’ll be compering the awesome Scotch Egg Challenge at The Ship on the banks of the Thames at Wandsworth on September 25, I thought I’d post my own modest offering.
I am, as they say, a bit of a bugger for a good Scotch Egg; when made fresh I think they are best served slightly warm and with a runny yolk, which is always a gamble when you can’t see what’s going on inside when you're frying it, but it’s worth a whirl nonetheless, and I think I’ve pretty much nailed it with this method.
Personally I like it with a good mustard mayonnaise or sauce to dip them in, but some people prefer some brown sauce - Daddies, HP or posher is, of course, down to you!
I do specify the type of black pudding in the recipe, but if you can’t get hold of Bury black pudding then try it with any other you can get your hands on, but do try and make sure it’s got a good ratio of chunky fat in it, it’ll help make your Scotch egg an unctuous thing of sheer beauty.
p.s. Sorry about lack of picture of my offering, some bugger has nicked my camera and that’s what the pictures of my gorgeous eggs were on :( So instead I shamelessly nicked this image from David Constable's blog Forever Eggsploring, he's the curator behind this competition and had the hard job of whittling down the entries along with the Ship guys & gals!
Equipment:Sharp knife
Large, non-metallic mixing bowl
Medium bowl
Small saucepan
Fine sieve
Kitchen roll
Slotted spoon
Cling film
Medium frying pan
Deep pan suitable for frying, wok or deep-fat fryer
Dishes suitable for flour, egg & breadcrumb process
Pestle & mortar
Chopping board
Ice cubes (not strictly equipment but worth flagging up!)
100g granary breadcrumbs
50g plain flour
3 medium eggs (at room temperature)
2 tbsp milk
100g room temperature sausage meat (I used Duchy Organics but a good pork sausage, skinned, should do it, or ask your butcher for your preferred type)
50g room temperature Bury black pudding, finely chopped
100ml traditional bitter, I used Black Sheep Ale (you may not use all of it)
½ red onion, very finely chopped
½ tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
½ tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
½ tsp ground chilli flakes, crushed further in pestle & mortar
1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1litre of groundnut oil + a little for frying
Small knob of unsalted butter
At least two trays worth of ice
  1. Put pan of water on to boil
  2. Meanwhile, very gently fry your onion, pepper, chilli & herbs until onion just softened in the butter with a little oil added
  3. Place in sieve over some kitchen towel to drain, put in freezer to cool
  4. Place two eggs in boiling water for five minutes and then plunge straight into bowl of iced water
  5. Take your onion and herb mix out of the freezer; rub your hands with a little groundnut oil and squidge into the black pudding and sausage meat (it’s joyously mucky this bit!) and slowly add your beer, making sure you don’t make too sloppy a paste and that there’s still bits of whole black pudding in the mix
  6. Pop in fridge for 10 minutes to mingle and become a touch firm
  7. Take a foot long piece of cling film and oil it lightly, place half your meat mixture on it, lightly flour your carefully peeled egg and then use the cling film to mould the mixture around the egg
  8. Repeat with other half and return to fridge for 10 minutes to firm up slightly
  9. Whisk together your egg & milk, put in a dish and, in two other separate dishes put your breadcrumbs and flour
  10. Heat your oil, in your large pan or deep-fat fryer to 170c
  11. Remove your ‘naked’ Scotch eggs from the fridge, unwrap and dip in flour, then egg/milk mix and then breadcrumbs, repeat the egg and breadcrumb steps at least once, I tend to triple dip mine as I like a really good crunchy coating
  12. Using your slotted spoon, lower the eggs gently into the oil and fry for approximately seven minutes, turning occasionally
  13. When the eggs float they are done
  14. Place on kitchen towel to drain and as soon as you can handle them without searing your fingertips, cut in half and serve with your sauce of choice – or just by themselves, your choice!
Beer Accompaniment:I am a big fan of a really good traditional pint of British bitter with these; I like the rest of the bottle of Black Sheep with them (if it lasts through the cooking process, which is unlikely) but have also found Fuller’s Chiswick, Young’s Bitter, Sambrook’s Wandle (in bottle that is, still not a huge fan of the cask) and have even found that a more robust ESB will go well. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that a mild would also be a belting partner, something like Moorhouse’s Black Cat for example.