Where does life begin and end? Where is mercy? Are they eating mince for dinner again? These are some of the questions that dog Terrence Malick’s loosely plotted family drama/examination of our place in the universe. For some the appeal lies in the early cameos of supernovas and dinosaurs. For other’s it’s how fetchingly Brad Pitt’s profile is lit. And for a few of us disbelievers, the true appeal in the film lies in the fact that its natural food pairing is a Scotch Egg.
Not just any Scotch Eggs, but a real and metaphoric one. An enigma and a riddle bound together; this is a chicken wrapped egg. Nobody’s really sure in the grand scheme of things which one came first, but when making these you need to tend to the eggs first; soft boiling to maintain the innocence of the yolk. They’re then coated in a thyme speckled and pulverised mixture of chicken. Then like most things you’ll find in the film’s locale of suburban Texas, they’re breaded and fried.
If you’ve got the timing right the yolk should spill like a starburst across the plate when cleaved open. If not, you’re still going to be eating a delicious snack- and unlike the film, consuming this won’t chew up 139 minutes of your life.
Chicken and Thyme Scotch Eggs
Makes 8 eggs
2 saucepans. 3 bowls. 1 stopwatch. 1 baking tray with a roasting tray/ cooling rack. Slotted spoon. Ice. Clingfilm. Baking paper.
10 medium eggs
1 tbsp bi carb soda
450g minced chicken (or contents of chicken sausages, skinned)
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon thyme leaves.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of mint, chopped
1 tsp parsley, chopped
4 tbsp plain flour
oil, for frying
Here’s how we roll
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375 F gas mark 5.
2. Bring a pan of water to the boil with one tablespoon of bi carb soda. As soon as the water boils place eight of the eggs in and cook for five minutes and 10 seconds. While the eggs are cooking, fill a bowl with cold water and ice and after the exact time has elapsed, fish the eggs out of the saucepan and plunge them into the iced water to cool.
2. In a bowl combine the minced chicken, thyme, mint, mustard and 2 tablespoons of water.
Mix and form 8 patties with your hands. Chill the patties on a tray lined with baking paper in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, very very carefully remove the shells by tapping the top and the bottom against a hard surface. It helps to do it under a gentle stream of running water. Don’t break the yolk.
4. Dust the eggs in a little plain flour (this will help the sausage meat adhere to the egg).
5. Lay out a square of cling film and flatten a chicken patty into a circle at least 10 cm in diameter. Place a peeled, flour dusted egg in the centre. Use the clingfilm to help wrap the sausage meat around the egg, pressing the edges in order to seal it- be careful not to press too hard (you can break the yolk) .
6. Get three small bowls and create a production line. Put the flour into a small bowl. In the second bowl add the two remaining eggs and beat them and the milk together with a fork. In the third bowl place the breadcrumbs.
7. Roll each mince coated egg in the flour, then in the beaten egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.
8. Heat enough oil to cover the eggs in a saucepan (or in a deep fryer) to 190 C/ 375F. Fry two eggs at a time for two minutes.
9. Pluck the eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon and arrange on a drying rack over a baking tray. Fry the remainder of the eggs and then bake all in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.