What are Faggots?
Faggots are a traditional British meatball made from offal, especially pork, with herbs and onions for flavouring and breadcrumbs to stretch them out. The offal is minced and is usually a combination of heart, liver and fatty pork belly or bacon, although beef is sometimes used. I’ve used just pork liver in this version. Faggots are popular in Wales and the Midlands of England. Faggots were popular during the 2nd world war as offal was not on ration, but declined in popularity over the next few decades. Faggots are now making a comeback and can be found in supermarkets under the brand name Mr Brains, although I understand that these can be a little watery compared to home made Faggots are still a very cheap meal, currently (April 2020) costing 30p for a generous portion. Traditionally served with mash and peas, and of course, gravy, I think mushy peas would be fab with these.
I wanted the taste of sage, but don’t have any in the garden at present. My heavy, wet, clay soil finished it off over the winter and I need to get another plant, or grow some seeds. I had a rummage in the larder and thought I could use some stuffing mix. So I added three heaped tblsps of it to the bowl and squished it all together with my hands. That worked beautifully If you don’t have a processor, chop the onion finely. You should be able to breadcrumb the bread by chopping it with a large, sharp, knife on a big board. Just keep chopping away, the whole length of the blade, and the bread will get smaller and make breadcrumbs. If you have a liquidiser, you could do it in that. The liver will chop down quite quickly with a sharp knife. I wouldn’t use a liquidiser, it will process it too finely and, erm, liquidise it. Serve with a big pile of mash, gravy and a vegetable or two. Comfort food at its best. I shall have 1 portion this evening and freeze the rest, for another day. I might even have another portion tomorrow, I am supposed to be using up what’s in the freezer, not keep putting more stuff in it! Even if you are not a fan of the strong taste of the cheaper pigs liver, you should be alright with these. The breadcrumbs dilute the flavour so that they actually taste quite mild. You could cook these in a slow cooker too
- 500 g pigs liver Asda 20p/100g, £1
- 250 g onions 70p/kg, 17p
- 300 g breadcrumbs value loaf, 55p/800g, 21p
- 1 tsp sage OR
- 2 tblsp sage and onion stuffing
- 50 g gravy granules Smartprice 200g/25p, 6p
- I am lucky enough to have gadgets and used the food processor for this. Peel the onion and chop in the processor, tip into a bowl. Chop your bread roughly and pulse the processor until it has a bread crumb consistency. It doesn’t have to be superfine or anything, we just don’t want huge pieces of bread in the finished faggots. Tip the crumbs into the mixing bowl.
- If you don't have a processor, chop the onion really small using a large sharp knife. Then do the same to the bread. Just keep chopping, the bread will break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Tip into the mixing bowl
- Now chop the liver. Process it for just a few seconds, we don't want to puree it. Tip into the mixing bowl. If you have no gadgets, chop the liver on the chopping board with your biggest sharp knife. Just keep chopping until it is in small pieces
- We now need to season. I added a tsp of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. I wanted the taste of sage, but don’t have any in the garden at present so I added three heaped tblsps of sage and onion stuffing to the bowl and squished it all together with my hands.
- Then I got out a baking tray and lined it with that reusable silicone
stuff and used my hands to make generous balls of mixture. As you can
see, I got 15 balls, making 3 each for 5 portions.
- Put the faggots in a single layer in an ovenproof dish
- Make up the gravy granules. Cover the faggots with the gravy and bake in a medium oven for about an hour.
- Click here to start a 1 hour timer
- Serve with a big pile of mash and a vegetable or two. Comfort food at its best.
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