A soft and delicate Persian version of Scotch eggs, braised in a saffron-scented tomato and risoni risotto. The saffron water will continue to develop flavour and colour over a period of seven days, so begin this step up to a week in advance.
- 700 ml chicken stock
- 1½ tbsp tomato paste
- 190 ml saffron water
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 200 g risoni
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- pinch of saffron
- 16 quail eggs
- 320 g lean lamb mince
- 320 g lean chicken mince
- 200 g cooked chickpeas, minced
- 100 g dry roasted potato, mashed
- ¼ cup finely chopped tarragon
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 60 ml saffron water
- salt and black pepper
- 50 g (⅓ cup) '00’ flour (you may need a little more or less)
- Vietnamese mint leaves
- coriander leaves
- parsley leaves
- mint leaves
- basil leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the saffron water, combine the water and saffron in small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, transfer the water and saffron to a sterilised jar and steep for 24 hours before using. The saffron water will last for at least 6 months stored at room temperature.
To make the quail eggs, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Gently lower the quail eggs into the boiling water and cook for 2¼ minutes. Drain and refresh in an ice bath, then drain again. Carefully peel the eggs and refrigerate until required.
Combine the lamb mince, chicken mince, chickpeas, potato, tarragon, turmeric and saffron water in a large mixing bowl. Season and mix until well combined. Add enough flour to bind the mixture, ensuring that it’s sticky enough to wrap around the quail eggs. Roll the mixture into balls, about 60 g each.
Dampen the palm of your hand with some water. Flatten a ball of mince in your palm to a circle about 9 cm in diameter. Place a quail egg in the centre of the mince and cover to enclose the egg. Roll into a ball shape. Repeat this process with the remaining eggs and mince mixture. Refrigerate until required.
Combine the stock, tomato paste and saffron water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the eggs and cook, turning gently, for 3–4 minutes or until evenly coloured. Sprinkle the onion into the pan and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the risoni and hot stock and gently stir to combine, ensuring all the risoni is covered in stock. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 12–13 minutes or until the risoni is tender (add a little more stock if necessary), and the mince around the eggs has cooked through. Season to taste.
To finish, add the butter to the pan, remove from the heat and stir through. Place the pan in the centre of the table with the mixed herbs served separately. Serve immediately.