Can you believe it’s been over two decades since a wizarding school captured our hearts and imaginations? That’s right. Today marks the 21st anniversary since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. To mark the occasion my friends and my little Ravenclaw-self chose to challenge each other to a culinary showdown for the Hogwarts House Cup.
So our competitors (and their recipes) are as follows:
No Hogwarts contest would be complete without representation from Slytherin House, and Monica from The Popcorner Reviews is more than happy to accept the challenge with her recipe for Slytherin Birthday Cake Biscotti.
With competition like that, I’m sure I’ve got my work cut out for me. So you ready to score some house points for Ravenclaw in this sorting feast of flavor? Read on or click here to skip to my recipe for Ravenclaw Tower’s Smoked Scotch Eggs!
Ravenclaw, The Eccentric Eagle Egghead
Typically when you hear of Ravenclaw House, you think book-smart and grades-obsessed. It’s true many of our cobalt-clad brethren fit this stereotype, but I think you’ll find us more addicted to knowledge than glory. And when I say addicted to knowledge, I mean if something piques our curiosity, it turns into an all-consuming hunt where our expected curriculum can take a long hike off a short pier into the Black Lake, grades and other responsibilities be damned.
Pottermore’s Ravenclaw welcome message describes them as having an illustrious history of inventors and innovators who “think you’ve got the right to wear what you like, believe what you want, and say what you feel. [They] aren’t put off by people who march to a different tune; on the contrary, [they] value them.”
Then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a treasured pastime in the Ravenclaw common room is ovomancy – the practice of cracking open eggs and observing/predicting what direction the yolks would fall. As odd as this sounds, remember this is a high school setting. I can’t help but picture a bevy of tipsy Ravenclaw students cracking eggs, placing bets, and pissing off the house elves for wasting food before breakfast.
This is why I figured if I were there, I would probably invent this recipe for smoked, soft-boiled scotch eggs so my Ravenclaw brethren could crack their eggs and eat them too.
Chicken or the Scotch Egg?
So for this recipe, I wanted to highlight Rowena Ravenclaw’s Scottish heritage, and then infuse it with ingredients that embody the values associated with her house. Despite the name, Scotch Eggs are not Scottish, but rather the term “scotch’d” means ground or minced meat — a way to make preserved hard-boiled eggs imported from Scotland more palatable. That’s one of the several theories, anyhow. I decided, however, to make them more Scottish by adding and coating them in rolled oats.
I chose to encase the eggs in ground chicken as a nod to the similar “Chicken or the Egg” riddle Luna answers (Phoenix or the Flame) to access the Ravenclaw common room. Though knowing myself, I’d probably argue with the eagle-head knocker for hours about how exothermic reactions were undoubtedly around longer than the Phoenix, and it seriously needs to get caught up on its muggle scientific knowledge. Chicken is also milder than the traditional pork to really let the other flavors come through.
I then mixed in ground sage, chopped fresh rosemary, and dried chives into the meat. Sage throughout history has been associated with wisdom and believed in the middle ages to “quicken the senses and memory.” Inconclusive modern medical research also suggests that certain extracts from the herb may even improve brain function. Rosemary traditionally symbolizes remembrance, as Shakespeare’s Ophelia denotes in Hamlet, of those who’ve passed and in turn passed on their knowledge. And Chives are said to symbolize usefulness — as a Ravenclaw would believe – that all knowledge is inherently useful.
Since I doubt Ravenclaw tower would have access to an oven, I chose to smoke the eggs in a stockpot on the stovetop. I did this also to incorporate beech smoke into the eggs. Now if you a chance to look at Pottermore’s article on wand woods, Walnut and Beech are wands usually associated with Ravenclaws. Intelligent wizards are famously known to wield walnut wands, but a “true match for a beech wand will be, if young, wise beyond his or her years, and if full-grown, rich in understanding and experience. Beech wands perform very weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant.”
Walnut wood also produces a bitter smoke more appropriate for beef while beech wood imparts a flavor in strength between alder and hickory. I also feel that beech is more appropriate from its historical association with wisdom and more importantly, written knowledge. Germanic tribes used thin slices of beech as writing tablets. And the Anglo-Saxon word for beech “Boc” is a possible predecessor for the word “book.”
So here it is, a recipe that in answers the “Chicken or the Egg” and the role of the Ravenclaw in the Hogwarts House Competition in a Jeopardy-style form of a question.
Highlight for the answer: Who came first?
When Eggs meet the Egghead
Ravenclaw Tower's Smoked Scotch Eggs
Equipment: Stovetop, saucepan with lid, two mixing bowls, spatula, aluminum foil, stockpot with lid, wax paper, 9″ aluminum or steel pie plate, collapsible metal steamer-basket, tongs.
- 7 eggs
- 1 pound of ground chicken
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tablespoons dried chives
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ground black pepper
- kosher salt
- a handful of beech smoking pellets
- ice water
- Place the eggs in the pan and cover with water. Let sit at least 15 minutes to come to room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients
- Strip two of the rosemary stalks and finely chop the leaves. Add the leaves, chicken, sage, chives, three pinches of kosher salt, and 1/4 cup of oats to a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spatula. Place the chicken sausage in the fridge to chill.
- Mix the remaining oats with the brown sugar in the other bowl and let sit.
- Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat cook 2 minutes. Continually swirl the eggs around the pan with a wooden or slotted spoon. Drain the water using the lid as a colander and fill the pan with ice water. Cover the pan with a lid and let sit to cool.
- Drain the pan again when the ice has completely melted. Then secure the lid on top and shake gently to crack the eggshells. Carefully peel the shell from the eggs and select the 6 least damaged. Reserve the extra egg for a snack.
- Place the eggs in a small dish and refrigerate. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Divide the chicken mixture into six portions and roll them into balls. Place the balls on the wax paper. Wash and dry your hands.
- Flatten each portion with your spatula until they are 4-inch diameter circles. Place an egg on each circle and use your spatula as a guide to encase them.
- Season the scotch eggs liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Then roll each one in the bowl of oats until coated. Place the pan of finished eggs in the fridge for an hour to chill.
- Line the inner bottom of your stockpot with aluminum foil and place the beech smoking pellets and remaining rosemary sprigs on top. Place the pie plate on top of to cover the pellets and the steamer basket on top of that. Put the pot on the stovetop.
- Spray the basket with cooking spray and arrange the eggs on top. Cover the pot and seal the edges with more foil. Turn the heat on the stovetop on high and set two timers, one for 45 minutes, one for 7 minutes. Turn the ventilation hood on its highest setting.
- When 7 minutes is up, reduce the heat to low and let cook until the second timer goes off. Remove the pot from heat and remove the foil and lid while wearing oven mitts. Take the eggs out with a pair of tongs and let cool 5 minutes before serving with grainy mustard.
Reheat leftovers 30 seconds to 1 minute on high in the microwave.