Saturday, 9 January 2010

Mincing Madness and Mini Scotch Eggs

For Christmas, I bought Pete a cast iron mincer. It was an inexpensive (and rather heavy and large) stocking filler which I bought in a charity sale, boxed and brand new. But I had no idea if would even work let alone work well.

So I was happy to find a recipe that allowed us to test the mincer as well as Michel Roux's Eggs cookery book, recently received for review from Quadrille. Having successfully tried a few recipes from his Sauces book recently, I was really keen to get cooking with eggs.

The first recipe I chose? Scotch Eggs! One of my favourite things and certainly enjoying a renaissance these last few years, with creative versions from The Handmade Scotch Egg Company (who I encountered at the British Cheese Festival back in 2008) and traditional versions on offer in many a pub and restaurant.

Before we could start on the recipe itself we needed to convert our pork shoulder steaks to mince. Enter mincer!

Unfortunately, our work surface proved to be deeper than the mincer's clamp could straddle so instead we clamped the mincer to a chopping board and used a clamp from Pete's toolbox to secure the chopping board to the work surface. Phew! Time to start cranking the handle! The mincer worked like a charm. Quite a faff feeding the meat through, and it took quite a while (not to mention repetitive graft, on Pete's part) but the end result was excellent. Job done!

That completed, we had all our ingredients assembled.

Michel Roux's Mini Scotch Eggs
8 quail's eggs (we did 12)
300 grams pork fillet or shoulder, trimmed and finely minced (we had approximately 350-400 grams minced shoulder steak)
2 teaspoons parsley and chives (we used parsley only)
salt and pepper
small pinch cayenne (we used a large pinch of paprika)
1 egg white + 2 medium eggs (we used 2 large eggs in total)
2 tablespoons milk (we omitted this)
seasoned flour
100 grams white breadcrumbs (we knew our bread was too fresh to make into crumbs so we toasted it before blitzing)
300 ml groundnut oil to fry (we used vegetable oil, not sure how much)

(Adapted) Method

  • We hard-boiled the quail's eggs and peeled them.

  • We mixed the minced pork meat with an egg white, the parsley, salt, pepper and paprika.

  • Dividing the meat mixture into twelve shares we took a portion, flattened it ito a pattie in the palm of a hand, placed an egg into it and gently moulded the meat around the egg.

  • Each egg was liberally floured; infact we double floured them.

  • We beat the second egg with the leftover egg yolk and dipped each floured quail's egg into it and coated it well.

  • The eggs were then liberally (and gently) rolled in breacrumbs.

  • We heated the oil in a small pan. The recipe suggests 180°C but as we didn't use a thermometer we guesstimated. We cooked the eggs in pairs for about 3 minutes rather than the suggested 1.5 to 2 minutes.

  • After letting them drain on a kitchen towel, we ate them still warm.
They were delicious! I particularly liked the fresh parsley in the meat layer and the golden crunch of the breadcrumbs.

In retrospect, mincing the meat by hand before hand meant it took us two hours to make these. Next time I'd buy meat in bulk, mince the same way and freeze for later use.

I'd like the recipe to give more guidance on how much seasoning to use as, although we added what we thought was a generous amount of salt and pepper, the end result was significantly underseasoned (and the large pinch of paprika we used was completely lost). I realise that seasoning is to taste, but really had no clue where to start on this one.

What I did like was how
straightforward the recipe was to follow. Roux has a simple, unpretentious writing style. The recipe worked and it gave us the confidence to make something we've never made before!

I'll be trying (and sharing) some more recipes from this book in coming blog posts!

Michel Roux's "Eggs", published by Quadrille, is priced at £9.99 but is currently available from Amazon (at date of posting) for just £6.46 (for the paperback edition).


Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

These look fantastic. My husband would love them.

scandilicious said...

aww...what a lovely stocking gift Kavey :-) I would so love a proper mincer, and like you I LOVE SCOTCH EGGS! have you tried the ones at the Hinds Head (Heston's pub)? To die for...

great post - sounds like a brilliant way to start 2010 ;)

meemalee said...

Fabulous - I love Scotch eggs so much and dinky is made of win!

However, it seems Michel Roux Senior doesn't talk to his hephew as much as he should because, in the MasterChef Professionals final, Michel Roux Jnr was completely dumbstruck by the thought of a quail scotch egg!

Kavey said...

Meem, yes I remember being UTTERLY dumbstruck myself that MRoux Jr was so astonished by this idea. Bizaare!

Kavey said...

Sig, I haven't tried the ones at The Hinds Head, though I have enjoyed a wonderful meal there...

Swedish Mike said...

These looks just awesome!

I really must add Scotch Eggs to the list of things I have to try and make in the kitchen this year.

// Mike

Anonymous said...

Hi Kavey - those look great, next time I'd suggest frying and tasting a cough-sweet sized sample of the meat to check for seasoning before using

I've only had these made with bought sausage meat - never thought of starting from scratch!

Stokey Sue

pigpigscorner said...

A mincer is pretty useful. Looks so good!

Lizzie said...

These look great. Often with any kind of minced meat coating I fry a little bit off to check it for seasoning.

Louise said...

these look fab. I have to say we have scotch eggs as one of our recipes to try for 2010 as I have mine made by the mother-in-law, who on the whole is an awful cook but does fabulous scotch eggs. I may just follow this recipe (without the mincing) when it's time to have a go.

Has anyone ever tried duck eggs in scotch form ?

Kavey said...

Oooh duck egg scotch eggs sound ace too!

Mamta said...

They indeed look fabulous Kav, though mincing pork sounded like hard work! Your pictures are very good too, good enough to eat off the screen!
I will try to make them for pops, but not sure if I can find quail's eggs easily. I will use the ready mince pork though.
For myself, I might make them with minced, smoked mackerel. I wonder what herb will taste best with mackerel!

Kavey said...

Oooh I think pop will like them!
Mackerel sounds good, probably still parsley!

Niamh said...

Fab! I have that book, have had it for ages now, but have yet to cook from it. A bit of a pulaver with the mincer (I've had the same problem in the past) but worth every effort in the end by the looks of things. Yum Yum!

Neil Davey said...

Re Mamta's comment. We celebrated our engagement at La Tante Claire and the most memorable dish - of several! - was Mackerel Tartare with quail eggs. The idea of that, combined with the crunchy breadcrumbed joys of a Scotch Egg? I'm making Homer-esque noises at the thought.

Great post btw!

Mamta said...

The idea for smoked mackerel is not mine. It comes from a recipe by Gill Cox;

Anne said...

Love the idea of mini scotch eggs= bitesize :-)

I remember making the full size ones many years back at school, despite ours slightly exploding I still remember how good they tasted warm out of the fryer!

Browners said...

Impressive effort. The mincer seems to work very nicely. What's it like at stuffing sausage casings?

Kavey said...

Hi Browners, not sure yet, this was it's first outing! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Homemade Scotch Eggs simply can't be beaten! and duck eggs work really well.

Foodycat said...

They are so cute! I love our mincer. Ours looks very similar to yours (don't they all?!) and it's a brand called Porkert - if it is the same I can give it a thumbs up for sausage stuffing!

Winton said...

I have a similar inherited pre WWII mincer still with its 'life time guarantee.' (Surely a pretty safe bet as I can't really see what there is to go wrong!)
Anyway, still makes great mince so shall have to try the scotch eggs.
Not sure if I'd have the patience to shell many quail eggs but bantam eggs would be a good compromise when I can my hands on some.

kate the bake said...

Ooh, lovely. Gluten free scotch eggs are on my to-do list too!