Puy Lentil Scotch Eggs
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    Serves 3 as a starter
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Last year we won the 2013 Scotch Egg Challenge in aid of Action Against Hunger. The winning eggs are Smoked Venison Scotch Eggs and, not only do they sell like hot ‘eggs’ here at the British Larder, they are now also sold in a very well known ‘yellow’ signed department store at the posh end of Oxford Street!

But, enough of smoked venison Scotch eggs, our vegetarian diners have voiced their desire and need for a Scotch egg of their own, and for that reason our version of a Puy lentil Scotch egg is now regularly made by request.

They are very tasty, but when making them, take extra time and care as the mixture is a little bit soft, so make sure you chill the mixture according to the recipe, otherwise it might all end in tears.

If you fancy a fishy version of a Scotch egg instead, do refer to my cookbook (The British Larder A Cookbook for All Seasons) on page 163, for delicious Smoked Salmon Scotch Eggs, or page 148 for the fantastic and fun Crispy Quack Eggs (duck meat wrapped around quail’s eggs). Such fun!photo of Puy Lentil Scotch Eggsphoto of Puy Lentil Scotch Eggs

Ingredients & Method

  • 300g Puy lentils
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 80g grated carrot
  • 80g grated onion
  • 80g grated celery
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mixed soft herbs (such as parsley, chervil and chives)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour, seasoned with salt and black pepper
  • 1–2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying

First, cook the lentils. Put the Puy lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring up to a gentle simmer, then add a pinch of salt and cook, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat, then add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic and salt and black pepper, cover and sweat for about 10 minutes or until soft and cooked, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lentils. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then chill in the fridge for 1 hour

Blend one-third of the lentil mixture in a food processor to form a paste, then fold the rest of the lentil mixture and the herbs into the paste. Divide the mixture into 3 even-size balls and refrigerate whilst cooking the eggs.

Cook the eggs in a covered saucepan of boiling water for 6–7 minutes, then remove the eggs using a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of iced water to cool them quickly. Once cold, peel the eggs carefully.

To make the scotch eggs, press each ball of lentil mixture flat, place a peeled boiled egg in the centre of each one and then wrap the lentil mixture around the egg, enclosing each egg completely. Place the balls on a plate and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Put the seasoned flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into 3 separate shallow bowls. First, roll a lentil-covered egg in the seasoned flour, tapping off the excess flour, then roll it in the beaten egg and then finally in the breadcrumbs, making sure it is evenly coated all over. Repeat this process with the other 2 lentil-covered eggs. Return to the plate and chill in the fridge for 15–20 minutes to rest and firm up.

When you are ready to serve, cook the Scotch eggs. Heat some sunflower oil in an electric deep-fat fryer or in a deep frying pan to a temperature of 160°C (or until a small piece of bread browns within 20 seconds in the hot oil). Once the oil is hot enough, deep-fry the breadcrumbed eggs in the hot oil for 6–7 minutes or until cooked, golden brown and crisp all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove and drain the cooked eggs on kitchen paper. Cut each lentil Scotch egg in half just before serving. Serve with a fresh garden salad and homemade piccalilli.