I love Scotch eggs, preferably the good kind, rather than the petrol station kind. Living in Scotland, they were ubiquitous and an easy snack. Hubby particularly liked them as an on the go breakfast. Since leaving Scotland though, I have only made them once or twice and have not been able to buy them.
Since making my Quail Scotch Eggs last year though, I've been meaning to make them again, and had been wondering about the idea of vegetarian Scotch eggs. During Lent, when I am vegetarian, heading off for a ski week with Little One and Hubby, I decided to try them. I figured they would make for easy, portable food for all of us and it would give me a chance to try out an idea.
What better vegetarian base than lentils? To give these a little more body and coherence, I added some potatoes too.
I also wanted to try them in the air fryer, having gotten that particular kitchen toy since last making them. Multiple (vegetarian) birds with one stone (or egg) as it were. As a bonus, I had extra coating for the eggs so decided to wrap bits of mozzarella too.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp tandoori powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
A pinch of allspice
2c green lentils
4-5 small potatoes, chopped
300-400 ml water
1 c breadcrumbs
(1 ball of mozzarella, grated)
Salt to taste
1) In a large-ish saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a couple more minutes until fragrant.
2) Add the lentils, potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture is thick enough to be able to be moulded. Beware of burning at the end as it gets thicker!
3) Meanwhile, boil the eggs for 7-8 minutes. The goal is to have eggs on the harder side of mollet, where the yolk is still the slightest bit soft, minutes away from crumbly, but not runny at all. Remove and run under cold water. Peel and set aside.
4) When the lentils have thickened up nicely, mash any remaining potato bits and allow the mixture to cool.
5) When cool enough to handle, wrap a coating of the lentil mixture around each egg (or piece of mozzarella) and then roll in the breadcrumbs.
6) Here you have a choice. I cooked my Scotch eggs in the air fryer at 180°C for about 7 minutes. Alternatively you could shallow fry them in a pan on the stove using vegetable oil at about 180°C until the outside is nicely browned.
We had these cold as picnic food (aside from the ones tasted straight out of the fryer). They kept well for a couple of days and made for easy packing and eating (although a little crumbly). They were tasty and I was happy with the spicing. Not exactly like a regular Scotch egg, but then, they weren't going to be as the coating was entirely different.
As the lentil mixture was quite moist, I opted not to roll it in egg before in the breadcrumbs and it worked fine. The coating didn't hold together though, so I might strain it a little next time, just to get it a little drier before frying.
Something else I would tweak next time would be to boil and mash the potatoes separately. They were an afterthought, and I just chucked them in the pot, but then hunting them down to mash all the bits proved challenging and I missed a few, leading to some potato chunks being left in the final coating.
Otherwise, as the first test of an idea, I am quite pleased with these! The mozzarella bits were a bit on the messy side coming out of the air fryer, but also very tasty!