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Scotch Eggs and Latex Gloves at the Coach and Horses

I like scotch eggs. From the gourmet end of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s warm ham hock scotch egg with picalilli to a Ginsters scotch egg bar, I love the entire range of pig wrapped chicken precursor. At the end of last year I saw that the Qype folks (ta muchly Neil) had organised a scotch egg tasting event at The Coach and Horses in Clerkenwell and enthusiastically jumped on the chance.

HenryI’ve not been to the Coach and Horses before, having confused it with the nearby Gunmaker‘s, and it seemed rather nice, with a landlord who knows how to look after his beer, a cheery head chef and a very decent whisky selection for a pub. Henry the chef also has a bit of a thing about charcuterie, leading to a section of the cellar being kept aside for hanging maturing meats – a couple of platters of these appeared at the end of the evening and they’re pretty good.

Part of the pub’s schtick is to try and cook more traditional british fare and to further this aim they added the scotch egg to their menu. There’s a bit of conjecture over where the name came from, with Fortnum and Mason’s claiming they invented the dish and others pointing out that ‘scotching’ is a term for wrapping things in meat anyway, but it’s generally accepted that it has become a much maligned bit of fast food in recent times. Times are changing, however, and our scotch egg tasting turned out to be a lesson in how to make them ‘properly’.

Firstly, Henry prepared the meaty wrapping – pork mince (made from shoulder and belly) was mixed with the traditional pork pie seasonings: mace, cayenne and sage, as well as some mustard, to fulfil Henry’s craving for it, and some cooked shallot for ‘sausageness’. This was smooshed up and left to rest while we prepared our eggs.

Prep

Donning latex gloves we grabbed an egg each and swiftly discovered that the sous-chef had gone slightly too far with the ‘soft boiled’ instruction, leaving smashed piles of barely cooked egg all over the table. A quick run upstairs later and we had another batch of more solid, but still runny, eggs. Shells removed, we grabbed a small handful of mince each (about 50g per egg) and started making porky sushi. We spread the meat out quite thinly onto a sheet of clingfilm, placed the egg in the middle and then used the clingfilm to bring the meat around the egg to make a ball.

We then moved onto the breadcrumbing, using the Coach and Horses chosen double crumbing – meaty ball into flour, then beaten egg, then finely ground panko breadcrumbs, back into the egg and then into some regular chunkily crispy panko crumbs before being placed on a tray ready to cook.

Egg doneThe eggs then disappeared for a bit to be first deep fried until golden and then finished off for 10-15 minutes in the oven. When they reappeared they were more prickly than the average service station version, with panko crumbs very golden and crunchy. They tasted really very good, with the eggs just slightly runny and the meat actually tasting of meat rather than the uniform salty greyness that you get from Budgens. The meat was quite loose in texture though and Henry recommended leaving the uncooked scotch eggs to chill for a while before cooking to allow them to firm up a bit.

Anyways, the scotch eggs are good and they’re a standard on the menu. I think they’re up there, but maybe not quite as good, as those made by Andy of Eat My Pies (although that’s a hard decision to make, especially as I didn’t try one made by the C&H staff), but they kick the (still rather good) SMWS one to the kerb. I still have a place in my life for the ghetto scotch egg, but it’s nice to know that there’s somewhere else that appreciates that they needn’t all be like that.

Egg cut

You can find organiser Neil’s write-up over on his blog with a bunch of links to others.

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