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Scotch Eggs from An Echo in the Bone

Scotch Eggs from An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone

I put down my cup and stared at him.

“You don’t mean you aren’t planning to go ho-to go back to the Ridge?”  I had a sudden empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, remembering our plans for the New House, the smell of balsam fir, and the quiet of the mountains.  Did he really mean to move to Boston or Philadelphia?

“No,” he said, surprised.  “Of course we shall go back there.  But if I mean to be in the printing trade, Sassenach, we shall need to be in a city for a time, no?  Only ’til the war is over,” he said, encouraging.

“Oh,” I said in a small voice.  “Yes. Of course.” I drank tea, not tasting it.  How could I have been so stupid?  I had never once thought that, of course, a printing press would be pointless on Fraser’s Ridge.  In part, I supposed, I simply hadn’t really believed he would get his press back, let alone thought ahead to the logical conclusion if he did.

But now he had his Bonnie back, and the future had suddenly acquired a disagreeable solidity.  Not that cities didn’t have considerable advantages, I told myself stoutly.  I could finally acquire a decent set of medical instruments, replenish my medicines — why, I could even make penicillin and ether again!  With a little better appetite, I took a Scotch egg.

Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (Chapter 74 – Twenty-Twenty)

The origins of the Scotch egg are a little up in the air, much like the short-term future of our favourite hero and heroine.

London’s Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented it as a portable snack for rich coach travellers in 1738. The eggs would have been smaller (from a pullet, or young hen,) and the meat would have been gamier, and with a texture more like a pâté rather than the modern sausage.

Others have speculated that Scotch eggs were inspired by nargisi kofta (“Narcissus meatballs”), a dish of minced meat and boiled eggs from the kitchens of 16th C Imperial India.

A third explanation is a little more pedestrian, which, in my opinion, makes it the most likely: the Scotch egg was a portable lunch made from leftovers; a variation of a Cornish pasty, bridie, or any other working man’s lunch from that era in Britain.

eggs-

My Scotch eggs were a little light on the sausage — the quantities I’ve given in the recipe make up for this shortfall, and will leave you with slightly beefier eggs than the ones you see below.

Speaking of sausage, don’t feel the need to stick to the traditional pork breakfast variety.  I switched things up a bit and used some fresh chorizo on half of the eggs, and turkey sausage on the other half.

I deep fried the chorizo eggs and baked the turkey ones.  Although the baked Scotch eggs never browned to a beautiful golden like those fried in oil, they did crisp up nicely, to a point where I can honestly say that you’re not going to lose a lot of flavour if you forgo the mess and cleanup of deep fat frying and bake the eggs instead.

Because while JAMMF may very well live forever, the rest of us could probably stand to give our arteries a break.

breading-station-scotch eggs

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Scotch Eggs from An Echo in the Bone

: An easy, make-ahead, protein-packed snack that can be fried or baked.

Yield:  6

  • Eggs – 6 (see notes)
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying) – 3 to 4 Cups
  • All Purpose Flour – ½ Cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Cayenne – ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Egg – 1
  • Dried Bread Crumbs – 1½ Cups (I used Panko)
  • Sausage – 1½ lb (see notes)

Place the 6 eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full rolling boil, remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.  Drain, then cover the eggs with ice water until cool to the touch.  Remove from hot water, cool completely and peel.

If frying your eggs, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high to 350° F.  If baking your eggs, preheat oven to 400° F.

Assemble the breading station:  stir together the flour, salt and cayenne in a small bowl or plate.  Beat the remaining egg with 1 tsp of water.  Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl or plate.

Flatten about 4 oz. of sausage into a patty in the palm of your hands, and form it around the egg.  Repeat with remaining sausage meat and eggs.  Roll the sausage-covered eggs in the flour to coat lightly, roll in the beaten egg, then in the bread crumbs to cover evenly.

Deep fry until golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Alternatively, bake in the preheated oven until light golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

Notes:

  • Hardboiled eggs made from farm fresh eggs can be difficult to peel.  Use 7-10 day old eggs to make it easier.  Store-bought eggs will be fine at any age.
  • Pork breakfast sausage is traditional — but you can use any sausage your heart desires.  Beef, turkey, even veggie!

scotch eggs

56 Comments

  1. Janetta
    September 24, 2012 at 1:56 am

    In Iran they have a similar recipe: kofte tabrizi. It is made with minced meat (a lot thicker layer around the egg that scotch eggs) and is simmered in a tomato sauce. Served with delicious iranian rice…

    • Rowan
      May 5, 2014 at 6:19 am

      Yummmmm. That sounds good too!

    • Taraneh
      August 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Janetta Im Iranian and I have never eaten that and my mom is a great cook too! All the things you learn if you are open to them..And the rice is to die for! Youre right!!

  2. JZ
    September 24, 2012 at 5:06 am

    That is a deliciously fascinating twist on my regular weekend meal. I wonder if Woman is interested trying this recipe.

  3. Marissa
    September 24, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Awesome! I’ll be making these soon!

  4. Lynn
    September 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

    The first time I had a Scotch egg was at a Renaissance Festival…I fell in love! Thanks for the great recipe..

  5. Debra
    September 24, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I looked it up in one of my books – very similar but my recipe had chopped anchovies as well and called the meat ‘foremeat’…
    Thanks for bringing this to light.

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Forcemeat is sausage meat by another name, Debra…the anchovies would really add flavour though!

  6. mary george
    September 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Janetta’s egg sounds wonderful for a whole meal

  7. rrbuchholz1Renea
    September 24, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I have made these before. I liked them. My family thought I was bonkers.

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

      why would they think you were bonkers? Scotch eggs have been around for hundreds of years and are now popular all over the world!

  8. Lora Hansen
    September 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I first made Scotch Eggs back in the late 1970’s. I was a new bride and wanted something special for my husband’s Sunday Breakfast. These were a huge hit.

  9. Ms. Aaron Brown
    September 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

    That looks yummy. The fair is coming to town and I would pick this over any fried oreo, snickers or banana!!

    • Theresa
      September 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      I bet you’ll have the chance, Aaron! I love Fair days…

  10. Mindy Reed
    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Weird!!!! I was JUST THINKING that you should make a Scotch Egg…. And now I have it…. Making this tomorrow for sure!!!!

    • Theresa
      September 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      I strive to please, Mindy 😉

  11. denizb33
    September 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Yum! I love scotch eggs!

    • Theresa
      September 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      so do I, Deniz!

  12. The Mom Chef
    October 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Aha! Saveur has a recipe for Scotch Eggs and I’ve been debating whether or not to stick a tab on that page. You’ve decided me. Yours looks so delicious; I need to give these a go!

    • Theresa
      October 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

      Your family will love them, Christiane! I`m making another few this week…

  13. sunshineyness
    October 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I’m not the most experienced cook in the kitchen but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get the sausage to flatten and mold around the egg. Is there a particular type of sausage to use. I was using andouille sausage and it either fell apart or wouldn’t close when I wrapped around. I ended up just breading whatever I had and baking it. Still tasted good but a definite F in presentation.

    • Theresa
      October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

      hmmm…curious. The first question that comes to mind is whether it was raw sausage or cured? Andouille can be both. You want raw sausage. I flattened it into a pancake, then wrapped it around the egg in the palm of my hand. Not tricky at all, which makes me think you maybe had a cured/smoked sausage?

    • sunshineyness
      October 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, I did used cured sausage. This suddenly makes sense, lol. I didn’t realize you needed it raw. These are usually the kind of silly mistakes I make in the kitchen, lol. Thanks!

    • Theresa
      October 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Mystery solved! Onwards and upwards… 😉

  14. Laurie Brett Pearsall
    November 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I’ve had these many times, but my 1st was when my Swedish/ Italian aunt made them. She called them Boccie Balls in honor of my Italian uncle, and they were HUGE! She continued to make them for my husband every Christmas until she could no longer cook. This year, I’ll make them for her for Christmas.

  15. Shelly
    February 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I don’t generally post on here because …. well, what do I know, I’m just a dumb redneck from Oklahoma…….I have, however, made Scotch eggs many times, they’ve sorta become something of tradition for Thanksgiving at my sis-in-law’s, we bring the eggs (both scotch and deviled) and mom…..

    Anyway, the thought never occurred to me to wrap the eggs with RAW sausage, I’ve always fried it up like you would hamburger meat, drain it on paper towels and then run it through a food processor to get an even consistency. Add a raw egg or two and a little bit of milk to make a paste and using wet hands form the sausage mixture around the egg, then roll in milk & egg mixture and roll in breadcrumbs, then pop it in the oven till it gets golden brown……….

    The first time I ever had a Scotch egg was at Scarborough Medieval fair outside Waxahatchie, TX, they sprinkled/rolled their eggs in paprika before wrapping the sausage around it.

    Another woman I know uses crushed cornflakes to roll her eggs in before baking……..I guess there’s really no right or wrong way to make them, as long as the end product is an egg wrapped in ground meat.
    🙂

    • Theresa
      February 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      I’ve never heard of that method, Shelly, but if it works, and the family loves them, then it must work wonderfully! 🙂

  16. Jana
    May 29, 2014 at 7:55 am

    If you are using farm fresh eggs place a plastic tipped thumb tack into each one at the small end. Same boiling time but very easy to peel once cooled. Love the recipe. Thanks, Theresa!

    • Theresa
      May 29, 2014 at 9:03 am

      And I love that tip! Thanks, Jana!

  17. Lara Z
    July 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The first and only time I have eaten a Scotch Egg was at a pretty Bed and Breakfast in the mountains of Tennessee. I am not a big fan of eggs and it was delicious! I am going to try and make these. 🙂

  18. Faith W
    July 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

    The best method for “hard boiling” fresh eggs is to steam them.
    I just tried this and it worked like a charm!

    Place the eggs in a steamer basket inside of a pot with 1-2″ of water in the bottom.
    Bring the water to a boil, and place the lid on top.
    Allow the eggs to steam for 20-22 minutes.
    Remove the steamer basket from the pot and transfer the eggs into cold water to halt the cooking process.

    I didn’t wait until they were cold before peeling and they peeled even easier than most of the store-bought eggs I’ve boiled.

    I found this technique on prairiehomestead.com

  19. Adina
    August 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you Faith W I have never figured out why some eggs peal easily and others don’t. Very frustrating when making deviled eggs. Now I know what to do.

    My first taste of Scottish Eggs was at a B&B in Napa, CA. I can’t wait to try making my own.

  20. Karen Reedy
    August 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Made these for the premiere tonight and they were highly complimented! Thanks for the great recipe! Problem is, DH was quality control for the first batch and now he’s going to want them often lol!!!!!

    • Theresa
      August 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

      They’re easy enough to make himself, I’d say! 🙂

  21. Laurian
    September 4, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Love your website!!!! I make these alllll the time. Instead I use sage sausage and actually bake them instead of frying them. And of course the HP sauce is non-negotiable. Lol

  22. Gail
    December 13, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Tried making these last night and ended up over-baking them. I noticed on the pan that the fat had all baked out and pooled around the eggs. I am assuming I should be taking them out of the oven before they reach that point. Is there a good way to visually know that they are done when using the baking method?

    • Theresa
      December 14, 2014 at 7:22 am

      As the instructions say, bake until they’re a light golden colour. You can expect some fat to pool.

    • Gail
      December 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

      Thanks! I think my other problem was the sausage was too thin, so they cooked faster than I expected. I’ll try again sometime soon!

  23. Zanne Rose MacLeod
    January 9, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    I make these frequently, having been taught by my grams at, maybe, the age of ten (we’re from Skye). My daughter has been helping me make them for years now, too – my husband inhales them. We use raw breakfast style sausage (I have only ground my own a few times), bread them (HARD-boiled) in a 1:1 mix of cornflakes and shredded wheat (run through the food processor or a chopper), and fry them up in a deep, cast iron skillet. It’s messy, yeah, but worth the cleanup for us. I would love to know if anyone has used one of those crisper grids for the oven, that are supposed to “fry” chicken so well in the oven. I’d be willing to try it.

    Depending on your tastes, they can be served with savory jams, like tomato, but the standard in our house is to slather/dip them in a large puddle of mustard. I prefer brown coarse ground myself.

  24. Linda Schultz
    January 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I tried and loved them at an Outlander meet up, they were served with a sauce on the side, some type of mustard sauce I think. Would you have a recipe for that?

    Also if you put a bit of baking soda in the water your eggs will peel real easily even new eggs.

  25. Georgia Burns
    January 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I made these last year for the Outlander premiere at a friend’s home. They have already been requested for the April 4th event. Two things I found helpful were to roll the peeled eggs in flour before applying the sausage to make the operation less slippery and to bake the eggs on a rack on a cookie sheet turning them halfway through. Extra fat drips away from the eggs. I made a mustard sauce but think the “puddle of mustard” in the post above would have been just fine too. Okay, now I’m hungry. Oh well, that always happens when I come here. 🙂

  26. Megan
    February 7, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Theresa,
    How long might the scotch eggs keep in the fridge? I like to make ahead quick breakfasts on Sunday for the rest of the week. I made one of your scone recipes last week and loved them.

    • Theresa
      February 7, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Megan, to be safe I’m going to say 3 days…but everything is fully cooked, so I’m pretty sure you could stretch it to 5 days.

  27. Pat
    April 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I have made these now a few times and are wonderful. Used to eat them all time while living in UK back during 1989s. Even modified recipe using SPAM and won 2nd place in the SPAM contest at the Nebraska State Fair! Made your recipe for very first Ourlander and doing it again for the second premiere! My group loves them! We use your recipes often! Thanks so muchM

  28. Danielle
    April 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Just pulled some out of the oven!!! They look sooooo good!!!

  29. Tracy
    May 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve made these for years! I was taught by a friend when living in NE Tennessee that made traditional foods for the various Highlands festivals in the TN NC SC areas. Absolutely a family favorite! and… HP sauce goes lovely with them. 🙂
    Tracy

  30. Molly
    July 21, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the Facebook ‘bump’ of this post. All of a sudden it occurred to me that this might be a solution for hubby’s lunches. He dislikes sandwiches, needs on-the-go food that doesn’t require utensils and needs protein. Shopping anyway today, I’ll pick up some sausage! Thank you…cross fingers it works for Mr. Picky. 🙂

    • Theresa
      July 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

      These should work well, Molly…and Bridies also fit the bill nicely!

  31. Anna Lapping
    July 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

    There is a pub here in Greensboro NC, The Marshall Free House, that makes Scotch Eggs for their brunch. they have figured out how to make them with slightly runny yolks. I’m thinking they use one of those egg cookers where you poke a hole in one end and the eggs are really steamed, not boiled, then chill them until the whites firm up, and proceed with the recipe. I’m going to have to experiment with that one.

  32. Artie
    September 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    When my husband decided not to eat pork anymore I had to adapt my favorite recipes. Therefore, I now use turkey sausage and it makes a good substitute.( I make mine.) I have fried them, baked them and the baked weren’t very good. My grand daughter tried something different she did a short fry on the Scotch Eggs till light brown then finished them off in the hot oven. She said they taste just as good as the King’s Head Pub in St. Augustine, FL.

  33. ShelleyL
    December 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I used this recipe as a starting point. I used half pork breakfast sausage and half hamburger, mixed it together with an egg, oatmeal, worcestershire sauce, and finely chopped onion – basically a meatloaf. Then I wrapped the eggs in the meat mixture and baked it with no breading. They were pretty amazing – my teenage sons and husband loved them. Even though they browned up very nicely, I think next time I will try breading them just to see how it turns out. Thanks for all the hreaf recipes on your site!

  34. Davina Jeffrey-Barron
    May 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    YAY thanks for this, been looking for a nice traditional recipe. I haven’t had them since I moved to the States and I miss them.

    My Dad used to sneak them in the shopping cart 🙂

    I’ll have to use gluten free panko, so they may not taste quite the same 🙁

    My husband has never had them, but he likes the sound of this much better than the black pudding my Granddaddy used to give me with my breakfast! Pretty sure he wouldn’t turn his nose up at the square sausage or bread though.

    Oh god I miss the bread!

    • Anna Lapping
      May 2, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Davina, my husband LOVES square sausage and I usually keep some in the freezer, but haven’t made it in several months….need to get on the ball with that. Thanks for the reminder.

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