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Scotch Eggs

  • j

Are these really Scotch? Where does one find them in the US?

This has always puzzled me, specifically because the only place I have ever seen them is as part of the "traditional" Japanese New Year's meal ("skotchi eggu"). When I had them, they were wrapped in hamburger, not sausage, but otherwise pretty much as described in JP's death-row link.

Western food permeates everyday life in Japan, but not the New Year's meal. It is **VERY** Japanese, and this one item stands out like a sore thumb. My Japanese friends/colleagues have no idea how this came to be included, or even where it comes from.

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  1. All I can tell you is that a former co-worker, our cook, would make them. Her brother lives in Scotland and she visited him often, and learned to make them from his native Scot wife. She used sausage and cracker crumbs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Betty
      Jessica Shatan

      These were all over London in 1992, like a snack/street food. I just assumed they were a British invention, brought to them by the Scottish.

      1. re: Jessica Shatan

        Or perhaps it's that you can only get them down after you've drunk a lot of Scotch.

        1. re: Jessica Shatan

          Invented 160 years ago by Fortnum & Mason, London, England. Not Scottish at all. Very very English.

          Update: They think Haggis has English heritage as well, as historians found references, both to both Haggis and Scottish Haggis.

          1. re: BeeRich

            I don't care where they came from; they're delicious, and that's enough for me. And if F&M invented them, good for them! A couple of Scotch eggs and a bit of freshly-made hot mustard and a pint = lunch... and I'm not even English!

            1. re: BeeRich

              i would guess - and it is a guess, that haggis predates both england and scotland

        2. I grew up on them and still make them often. Suasage meat and panko are the what I use to coat the egg.

          1. I spent some time in the UK for work and a food truck would pull up everyday and I'd buy a Scotch Egg. Good stuff. Must try to make them sometime.

            1. An English Pub close to my house has them on the menu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: iluvtennis

                An English pub just opened up in town....hmm, I'll have to check it out for the Scotch eggs!

              2. The Argyle, a Scottish restaurant in Kearny, New Jersey has them on the menu. It is covered with sausage and crumbs, and the egg becomes 'hard boiled'.

                4 Replies
                1. re: phDuh

                  the egg is already hard boiled, then wrapped in sausage meat and coated then fried.

                  1. re: smartie

                    I was going to point out it's pretty hard to wrap sausage around a raw egg but it seemed so obvious....

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      'it's pretty hard to wrap sausage around a raw egg "

                      love me some scotch eggs. We get them each fall at our local renaissance fair, where they are deep fried. is this the usual method? can they be baked, do you think?

                      1. re: jujuthomas

                        "can they be baked, do you think"

                        Probably not with great success. The benefit of frying is that it will quickly cook the sauasge and breadcrumbs without harming the hard boiled egg.

                2. So everyone knows what we are talking about.

                  1. The Ship Inn in Milford, NJ (near the Delaware River) styles itself a British pub, and serves these regularly on greens, with pickled vegetables and hot sauce.

                    Very British food item - great picnic item, too.

                    As to why it's called a "Scotch" egg? Nobody seems to know the answer to that one...

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: mcsheridan

                      Contrary to popular belief (and despite being the butt of a number of English comedians' jokes about the Scottish diet), Scotch Eggs were actually invented by the famous London department store, Fortnum & Mason in 1851.


                      1. re: bigfellow

                        and even that entry doesn't address the question: Why "Scotch" egg?

                        1. re: mcsheridan

                          I can only speculate why we English would name such a delicacy as something from "north of the border". But how about this.

                          Generally agreed that it was invented by Fortnum's in London in the mid 19th century. The company made up picnic baskets. At the time, the wealthy middle/upper classes would travel to Scotland for holidays using the train. Perhaps, Fortnums made up baskets for travellers that incorporated breakfast food for the overnight journey.

                          One of my local farmers markets has a stall selling nothing but different types of Scotch egg. Favourite is sausage meat and black pudding.

                          A Scotch egg needs to be eaten with piccalli. It turns even the mass produced supermarket version into something enjoyable.

                      2. re: mcsheridan

                        A Scotch egg as part of a salad??? Great idea, and tempers the guilt factor a bit too!

                        1. re: scuzzo

                          No, not part of a salad, merely a presentation: just enough greens to keep it from direct contact with the plate, and pickled veggies on the side.

                          Still a marvelous dish. YUM.

                      3. Here in Houston you can find them at most pubs that claim to be British/English. Why you can even find them at the Renaissance Faire when it is in town - in the English section. My question to those of you who are more familiar is the scotch egg supposed to be served warm or cold? I know a British man who is quite put out by the fact that he can't get them cold, and he doesn't like them warm. Is this typical?

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: danhole

                          The ones I got in England were cold.

                          1. re: danhole

                            Scotch eggs are *always* cold in the UK. Warm would be vile.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Scuzzo & Harters.

                              Well that answers my question and thanks. Now the question is why don't they serve them cold here? If a place wants to call itself an English Pub, why not do it the right way?

                              1. re: danhole

                                They do serve them cold here. Obviously not every where as experienced by you but I've had Scotch eggs cold where I live.

                              2. re: Harters

                                When you say "cold" do you mean room temperature or straight out of the refrigerator? If you mean refrigerator cold I would find the mouth feel of congealed sausage fat truly vile. I'm also wondering why you say served warm would be vile? Now by warm I am thinking freshly cooked and just cooled slightly.

                                1. re: kmcarr

                                  By "cold", I mean room temperature. A Scotch egg is classic British picnic food, as are hard-boiled eggs on their own - even in our lousy summers picnics dont usually involve warm food. We always eat hard-boiled eggs cold - hence why the idea of it being warm would be horrible to my taste.

                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                    The thought of eating sausage, even at room temperature, just doesn't appeal to me, but I was not raised on them, so . . .

                                    KT - for some odd reason, here in Houston they will only serve them warm, even though my English friend has asked places to make them the correct way. They think that if they just put them in the fridge for awhile that will appease him, but it only gets him more upset!

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      Put them in fridge to cool them off? A travesty, danhole, a travesty.

                                      But, if you want to score points, ask your English friend how he eats his sausage rolls. These can be eaten either warm or cold and are a source of discontent even in the Harters household. I'm a cold person, whilst Mrs H is a warm. If you're not familiar with these - it's a roll of sausage meat (shapred link what I think Americans call sausage links), then wrapped in flaky pasty and baked. To me, a cold one needs nothing more than a few very spicy pickled button onions (homemade, in our case) and lunch is served.

                                      1. re: danhole

                                        There aren't many places that sells Scotch Eggs in NY. I just did a search on Menupages and there are only 7 places listed! I get my scotch eggs at an English grocer that carries lots of cooked items as well.

                                        I'm guessing the reason your friend can only find hot scotch eggs is because they are being cooked to order.

                                    2. re: Harters

                                      Sorry, but as an Englishman whose mother made them, the only time I ever had them cold was on picnics. When we had them at home they were always hot.

                                    3. re: danhole

                                      The Renaissance Festival is the ONLY place I can down a Scotch egg. I eat one a year - it just seems like the thing to do at the Festival - same for "Steak on a Stake"

                                      1. re: cycloneillini

                                        My daughter used to work the Renaissance Festival and that's what she had for breakfast everyday. I never tried one because I am particular about my boiled eggs - don't like to see any green on the yolk. But that Steak on a stake is great! We asked for our med. rare and they would do it for us. Came out perfect and fresh off the fire.

                                    4. Scottish things (and people) are 'Scots', not 'Scotch'.
                                      Maybe the word refers to something else?
                                      I used to buy vegetarian Scotch eggs at Waitrose in Windsor, many many years ago - then one day the recipe (and I assume supplier) changed and they were vile. I've not had one since. Maybe tomorrow....

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Peg

                                        Funny you should mention Waitrose and Scotch eggs as I have recently had a "result" with them. I bought a pack of two a few weeks back. Enjoyed the first. Picked up the second and thought it felt a bit light. No egg! Just the casing of sausage meat.

                                        Wrote to the supermarket. Fullsome apology and £20 of vouchers in return. Sorted!

                                        BTW, what did they use to replace the sausage meat on the veggie version? As I mention upthread there's a stall at Bakewell Farmers Market that sells nothing but different versions. I think they use lentils or similar - it doesnt work very well.

                                      2. I made baked Scottish Eggs last year, as I remember, they were quite good. I have to do that again sometime.

                                        1. I've been to a new (to me) farmers market a few miles south on a small mixed organic farm (very cute - the pigs were snuffling round the field where we parked cars - and one sow had given birth to 11 piglets just this morning - this is genuine free range). I bought some of their ancestors in the form of chops.

                                          The Scotch egg guy I mention upthread was there. So I now have lunch. Two eggs - one with just plain sausage meat but flavoured with a lot of black pepper; the other with the sausage meat mixed with black pudding (my favourite). He'd run out of one I'd love to try - a duck egg, first encase din Palma ham, then the sausage meat and, finally, the breadcrumb. Maybe next time.

                                          1. Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano makes them with quail eggs, so they're a nice 2-bite treat. Very good with a Bloody Mary...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: emily

                                              Of course this post is almost 3 years old, so I went to look: they're still on the menu … at $3 each! Depending on where the pound and dollar are to each other, that two to three times what the handmadescotcheggs website advertises them for.

                                              Anyway, call me a glutton, but a regular-sized Scotch egg is a little better than a two-bite snack for me; I just need to find a place that's got both decent eggs and decent Bloody Marys. None here in Pasadena, apparently …

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                Will, if you ever find yourself in London then I think this is the place for you.


                                            2. here in south Florida i go to the blue anchor in delray beach and get room temp scotch eggs. I am quite sure that the ghost would not approve of hot eggs

                                              1. I had one at Three Floyd's Brewpub in Munster, IN. It was pretty good!

                                                1. Quails egg Scotch eggs are fabulous. Perfect one bite snack.