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)
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)
- 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).