Saturday, 3 April 2010
Vegetarian Scotch Eggs
I've never actually had a Scotch Egg, so when tasting this vegetarian version there wasn't anything to compare it to. That being said, I can imagine what a hard boiled egg coated in sausage meat then fried tastes like. Visually, this vegetarian version looks virtually the same as a traditional sausage scotch egg (even my partner agrees). Since it's made with a mix of beans instead of sausage meat it needs to be seasoned/spiced well or it will be really bland. The construction and cooking are the same though. In fact, I made three veggie, and one sausage meat version for my partner (which he loved).
Vegetarian Scotch Eggs
4 large eggs
1/2 tin chickpeas/garbanzo beans* - drained and rinsed
1/2 tin kidney beans* - drained and rinsed
1/2 tin cannellini beans* - drained and rinsed
1 tbsp coriander/cilantro - coursely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 egg - whisked
1 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup flour
neutral oil for frying
Hardboil eggs to your liking** (I actually boiled mine the day before making these - before I realized I didn't have any kidney beans, but hardboiled eggs will keep in the fridge for a few days, so it's also a great way to use up leftover Easter eggs!). When the eggs are cool - peel (the warmer they are, the harder it will be to peel them).
In a food processor (or with a hand blender) pulse the beans and coriander together until nearly smooth. At this point you may need to add some olive oil to make it smoother, but the mixture should be malleable. Once blended, season to taste (this is important since normally sausage meat is very seasoned, so to match the flavor you may want to add different spices, but definitely salt & pepper!)
Lay out about a 9 inch square piece of cling film (saran wrap) and flatten 2 tbsp of the bean mixture on it. In the center of the mixture put the egg, then bring up the sides of the cling film around the egg. Remove the cling film, then shape the bean mixture around the egg. Depending on the size of your egg you may need more or less bean mixture to coat it. You want about 1/4'' to 1/2'' of thickness around the egg.
Dip the bean coated egg into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Heat about 2 inches of neutral oil over a medium heat in a medium saucepan. Because you don't have to cook any sausage meat, it is not as essential that you get the correct heat of the oil, as this stage will mainly be about browning the scotch egg - however, saying that, a lower heat will allow the bean and egg to warm through, making a more pleasant eating experience. You could also deep fry it, but since I don't like to use lots of oil (and don't have a deep-fryer) I'm not sure what temperature this would be at. Brown on all sides then put on paper towels to drain.
*Why not use the leftover beans in a chili, soup, stew etc.
**I put my eggs in a sauce pan with enough tepid water to cover. Bring to simmer, then turn heat off and put lid on - let stand 7 minutes. Then drain hot water and fill pot with cold water to cool eggs.