Scotch eggs are in my mind the MVP of the snacking world, especially when eaten hot from the fryer with an oozing yolk and loaded up with our infamous Chilli Jam! I don’t think there is much that really comes close to it. I think that scotch eggs have got an even worse rep than the petrol station sarnie, utterly over cooked eggs wrapped in under seasoned and dry sausage meat, all wrapped up in bright orange breadcrumbs.
Today we are doing it right and making up a batch of pheasant scotch eggs to feast on. With few ingredients it’s really important that every element of our scotch egg sings, with this in mind we have created a beautiful pheasant sausage meat to use. You could also use your favourite sausage meat from your local butcher.
The sausage meat is one of the most important parts of constructing the ultimate pheasant scotch egg. Ours is based on a fresh lucanica style sausage, originally from northern Italy. Flecked with garlic and our Chilli, Fennel and Orange seasoning, this sausage meat really packs a punch with plenty of zesty notes. Pheasants don’t always carry lots of fat so we have incorporated some bacon into our mix, that being said if you do have some nice fatty pheasant legs then omit the bacon and add in an extra 350g of fatty pheasant. The breadcrumbs are here to make sure that the sausage meat keeps hold of all of its fat, making for a much more succulent sausage meat.
Timings are critical when it comes to cooking your eggs if you want that velvety smooth runny yolk. Lots of recipes will tell you to place your eggs into cold water and then bring it to the boil with your eggs in it. The problem with this is that everyone’s stove top or fire will be running at a different temperature or power meaning that everyone’s eggs will be cooked differently.
Water boils at the same temperature so bringing your water to the boil first means the eggs will cook the same every time. It’s important to get your eggs used to the boiling water so I generally give the eggs two or three dips into the water before committing the eggs to the pan for the six minutes of cooking time. This will stop your eggs from cracking as soon as they hit the hot water. As soon as that six minute timer rings, use a slotted spoon to place the eggs into a bowl of ice cold water to stop them from cooking any further.
When crumbing your eggs with breadcrumbs it can be helpful to bear in mind that if you keep one hand for dry ingredients and the other for wet, then you wont end up with lots of flour and breadcrumbs stuck to your eggy hands. This isn’t an essential step but it certainly helps to make the situation drastically less messy!
Lastly, don’t overcrowd your pan. The more scotch eggs you add to your pan the slower they will take to cook. The temperature of the pan will also drop significantly, potentially leading to a greasy crumb instead of a beautifully golden and crisp exterior.
1.2kg boneless pheasant meat
350g bacon or fatty pork belly
125g bread crumbs
9g freshly ground black pepper
6g sage, finely chopped
8g Chilli, Fennel and Orange Seasoning
1 large garlic clove, minced
50g plain flour
200g panko breadcrumbs
8 eggs (2 beaten with a touch of water)
Vegetable oil for frying
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place 6 of your eggs in a large strainer and dip into the boiling water. Lift out and dip again, lift out and then place gently into the boiling water.
Boil the eggs for 6 minutes, as soon as the timer rings, remove your eggs from the saucepan and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the egg from cooking anymore. Once completely cool, peel the eggs. Set aside in the fridge.
To make the sausage meat for your scotch eggs, mince the pheasant and bacon through a medium plate on your mincer. Add in the salt, pepper, sage, chilli fennel and orange seasoning, garlic and honey. Give your sausage meat a really good mix together. Fry off a little of the sausage meat and check for seasoning. Adjust accordingly.
Divide your sausage meat into 85g portions and roll into balls. Freeze the rest of the sausage meat to use in another recipe. Take each egg and roll in a little flour and set aside. Place a ball of sausage meat into your hand and flatten evenly, take an egg and place in the centre folding the edges of the sausage meat around your egg trying to exclude any little pockets of air. Repeat with all six eggs.
Place three bowls on your worktop and place the flour in the bowl on your left, the two beaten eggs in the middle bowl and the breadcrumbs in the bowl on your right. Working with one wet hand and one dry hand, use your dry hand to place each scotch egg into the flour. Use your dry hand to move the now floured egg into your beaten egg bowl, use your wet hand to move the egg around making sure it is all coated in egg. And finally, use your wet hand to transfer the egg into the bowl of breadcrumbs and use your dry hand to cover the egg evenly in breadcrumbs.
Place the vegetable oil into a heavy based saucepan and heat over a medium flame to 165℃. Gently lower a couple of scotch eggs at a time into the hot fat and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden and the core temperature of the pheasant sausage meat is 70℃.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the scotch eggs from the oil once they have finished cooking and repeat the process with the rest of the eggs.
Eat warm or allow to cool and keep in the fridge for upto 3 days. Cut in half and season your eggs with a little more chilli, fennel and orange and load up with chilli jam.
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Interested in learning more about sourcing, cooking and eating pheasant? Have a read of our blog post, Spotlight on Pheasant.
Pheasant is a healthy and abundant source of protein. Roaming free outdoors for their entire life, pheasants (like all game) are naturally lean. The meat is delicate in flavour and very versatile – it makes a great substitution for chicken.
Here at The Salt Box, we host a range of butchery and cookery courses celebrating all things feathered and furred. Throughout the season, join us on our Wild Venison Butchery Course or our Wild Game Butchery and Cookery Course, here in our Woodland Kitchen.
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