Food You Can Eat: Scotch Eggs

For 10 points, tell me something that has Scotch in its name but is not Scottish

Image via Curious Cuisiniere

Merry is the month of May, heralding as it does the return of picnic season.

This little delicacy has an interesting history. They are not Scottish. The story goes that they were invented by Fortnum & Mason in London in 1738. Fortnum & Mason is primarily known as a luxury food purveyor, famous for their upscale picnic “hampers”/baskets, filled with upscale food. Kind of like Harry & David in the US, but H & D doesn’t hold Royal Warrants from HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales, like F & M does, so if you order something from Harry & David you might as well just send someone coupons for Cheez Whiz, as far as Fortnum & Mason is concerned.

It is thought that Scotch eggs were created to be in these F & M picnic hampers. Scotch eggs are now commonly found in pubs, among other places, and ordered by the semi-inebriated, so not exactly a summer afternoon picnic along the Thames ca. 1820. We are not in Jane Austen’s England anymore. If they’re not Scottish, why are they called Scotch eggs? That is a corruption of “scorched,” so called because they were originally cooked over open flames.

I don’t consume a lot of Scotch eggs and when I do it’s not because I’ve worked up an appetite from punting on the Cam or having downed one too many pints at the Hare & Hounds pub. No, I make them for breakfast, because they are sausage, eggs, and bread in one convenient bundle.


1 lb. bulk pork sausage. Even better, 1 lb. English or Irish sausages, or breakfast sausages, casings removed.

Salt and pepper, especially pepper, if you used the bulk sausage

6 hard-boiled eggs, dunked in an ice bath so they cool down and stop cooking, and peeled. Hard-boil them a little less than you normally would because they’re going into the oven. You can also leave them a little runnier if you like that, but they have to be cooked enough to be peeled.

1 or 2 eggs, beaten, usually one good-sized one is enough

3/4—1 cup herbed breadcrumbs, as small as you can get them, on a plate

Divide the sausage by six and make six patties. Put an egg in the middle of each one and mold the sausage around it. The sausage should stick to the eggs. Roll each be-robed egg in the beaten egg. Then roll each egg in the breadcrumbs. This should all cling together cohesively.

Really you should deep-fry these in oil but you can bake them, which is far easier and less likely to have them fall apart on you and make a mess. Also this makes them slightly healthier, so you can hold your head high on your next visit to the cardiologist. Put the six eggs on a baking sheet and put in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about half an hour, maybe less. You need to turn the eggs at least once during the process. Make sure the sausage is fully cooked; pork-induced food poisoning is not the goal.

For breakfast you may or may not want to do this, but these are traditionally served with a spicy mustard. 



  1. I had forgotten all about this one!

    In a funny coincidence last Sunday we were all set to go off to brunch when my Celebrity Sunday Matinee post popped up and I said to Better Half, “We’re not going anywhere. It’s Mother’s Day!!!” Now, I have nothing against mothers, I was very close to my own and BH was very devoted to his and she to him, but MD is a huge deal around here. The restaurants, which are very hit or miss to begin with, overflow with elderly women and their exasperated offspring, none of whom (I’m making a gross assumption) would normally eat anywhere more challenging than a McDonald’s. We made the mistake of going out locally on MD about 10 years ago and I’m still scarred. I pray for the servers.

    Anyway, I launched Plan B and asked what we had a ton of to use up. Sausages and eggs. That would be boring, I thought, so I toasted some stale-ish bread and grated some bread crumbs and made Scotch eggs. As a Pisces I know I have psychic powers and here is further proof.

    • As someone who had to take his mother-in-law to a crab joint for Mother’s Day, I completely agree with your assessment of the typical Mother’s Day dining group. I’m also allergic to shellfish, so it’s not like this choice of restaurant was accidental (I intensely dislike my MIL, and I’m not good at disguising it). I’m glad I escaped alive, though somewhat worse for wear.

      • I used to love going to restaurants with my MIL because she very often chose this regional seafood chain called Legal Seafoods and I love seafood. I wrote a whole post about this. Anyway, what was great about her was she knew what she wanted, she knew the drill, she neither wanted to befriend the servers nor make their lives a living hell, she just wanted the food and to spend some quality leisure time in the presence of her adored [her nickname for BH, and only she and I could/can use it] and, oh yes, me, I guess. But she told me more than once that she loved me and I believe it.

  2. I usually aspire to make/consume the foods from your recipes. But even the idea of scotch eggs sort of turns my stomach. Weird how some foods are personal kryptonite, eh?

    • They’re kind of an acquired taste, but if you’ve ever made a sausage omelet, peppered it, and placed some of it on a slice of toast and eaten it that way you have essentially eaten a de- and reconstructed Scotch egg.

      Did I ever mention that I once (not entirely soberly, it goes without saying) ate a slice of haggis pizza? Not only does such a thing exist: recipes abound. That is a real taste test challenge.

    • Yes. My research indicates that you can let these cool completely, put in an airtight container, and either refrigerate for up to a week or freeze up to a month. I’ve never done this though…I’m sure you could make these the night before and refrigerate overnight. They are a picnic food, and the presumption wasn’t that you were going to buy your super-luxe picnic hamper and immediately picnic on the sidewalk outside Fortnum & Mason.

      • … and the presumption wasn’t that you were going to buy your super-luxe picnic hamper and immediately picnic on the sidewalk outside Fortnum & Mason.


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