Chickpea, Chorizo and Red Onion Scotch Eggs
There is no denying that this is more of a labour of love than most of the other recipes in this book, but these are really worth making as a treat, as they are so much nicer than any scotch eggs you could buy from the shops (unless you work next to Fortnum & Mason). The most intimidating thing about making your own scotch eggs, apart from the presence of scalding oil (and we would recommend that you make these the evening before, as depp-frying first thing in the morning is a bit stressful) is gauging whether the meat is cooked through. Luckily, you don't have to worry about that here.
- 6cm piece of cooking chorizo, skinned and diced very finely
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 2 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- generous squirt of tomato ketchup
- 1 1/2 cups panko or regular breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp flour
- vegetable oil, for frying
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
The night before:
Fill a pan, large enough to hold 3 eggs, with cold water and put on to boil. Put a small pan on a medium heat and, once hot, add the chorizo and onion (you don't need oil as the chorizo will release oil as it cooks). Leave for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; you want everything to soften, but not to crisp, so make sure to keep an eye on it. As soon as everything is nice and soft, turn the heat off.
Once the water is boiling, gently lower 2 eggs into it, setting your timer immediately. Turn up the heat if necessary: the water needs to remain at a steady, although not violent, boil. Leave for 6.5 minutes and then remove from the heat, drain the water, and run cold water over the eggs in the pan for 3 minutes.
Pour the chickpeas into the pan of chorizo and onion and place on a sturdy heatproof surface. Begin to mash, using a potato masher, slowly adding the olive oil as you do so. The chickpeas should begin to break down and form a sort of mash, helped by the oilve oil. When it has reached this consistency, season to taste, and add the paprika, chilli and a couple of squirts of ketchup. Mix again. You should be able to pick up a bit of mixture and squidge it into a ball.
Fill two bowls: the first with breadcrumbs (add salt and pepper to these), and the other with the remaining egg, beaten. Pour the flour on to a clean plate. Your Scotch egg station is now ready.
Remove the eggs from the pan of cold water and carefully peel. It helps with the painful process of peeling if you do it under cold running water.
Take a 20cm piece of cling film and place 2 large spoonfuls of the chickpea mis on to it. Mash this down with your hands, making sure that there are no holes. Place a peeled boiled egg on top, and, using the cling film like a blanket, wrap the chickpea mixture around it. Gently mould the chickpea mix around the egg, filling in any gaps with extra mix. Once you are happy with the shape (try to make it even, to help it fry evenly), roll in the flour, then dip into the beaten egg and finally dip into the breadcrumb bowl. Make sure that the whole thing is evenly covered in breadcrumbs (you may have to pat them in). Place on a clean plate. Repeat this process for the two remaining eggs: you will need to wash your hands several times.
Add the oil to a large non-stick pan and heat until very hot. Test this by dropping a breadcrumb into the pan: if it sizzles and goes brown you're good to go. Carefully (and do be careful: it may sound obvious but burning oil, especially in the face, hurts) lower the scotch eggs into the pan. Leave them to cook for approximately 40 seconds on each side, turning them with a spoon so that they are evenly cooked and golden brown all over. It is tempting to start doing the washing up now, but they burn really easily, so probably best to hold off. Once they are cooked, turn off the heat and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, placing on a plate lined with a couple of pieces of kitchen paper. Leave to cool. If your eggs have suffered some casualties, don't worry too much. Just treat them like burnt toast and, onice it has cooled down a bit, gently scrape off any offending too dark breadcrumbs.
In the morning:
Lina a Tupperware or lunch container with kitchen paper and add your egg (or eggs, if you've gone for two - and there is never any shame in going for two). A small jam jar of mayonnaise mixed with chilli sauce is a good accompaniment - nestle into the Tupperware and refrigerate once you get to work.