Faggots in gravy

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online


Not the most fashionable food around, but I'm sure faggots are due for a revival. When I was a kid it was compulsory to go to the fish-and-chip shop after youth club or swimming; faggots with chips and gravy served in a polystyrene tray with a wooden fork was my favourite. Kebabs and pretend spring rolls seemed to have taken over in most chippies. Perhaps faggots are just too strange to count as fast food now. With minced pig's liver inside and a covering of caul (pig's or lamb's stomach lining), it's not exactly a dish for beginners to attempt, but if you really want to get into mincing (and have the right food-mixer attachment), try it out. If you can't find caul, replace half the pig's liver with pork belly or the mixture will be too wet to manage. Then roll the faggots in flour before you roast them.

for the faggots

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme leaves
1tsp chopped sage
Vegetable oil for frying
500g pork liver, deveined and coarsely minced by the butcher or with an attachment, or finely chopped
300g pork belly, rind removed and coarsely minced
70g fresh white breadcrumbs
A good pinch of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A good pinch of celery salt
120g caul fat, soaked in cold water for an hour or so

for the gravy

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
60g butter
50g flour
1tsp tomato purée
Half a glass of red wine
500ml beef stock (a cube will do)
1¿2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat a small roasting tray, that will fit the faggots, in the oven to 200ºC/Gas mark 6. Gently cook the onion, garlic, thyme and sage in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft. Mix with all the other ingredients for the faggots, except for the caul fat, and season with salt, pepper and celery salt. Mould the mix into four equal-sized balls. Wrap in 2-3 layers of caul fat, overlapping and remoulding into even shapes. If you haven't any caul, roll them in flour.

Put the faggots into the roasting tray with a little vegetable oil and roast for 25 minutes, turning them 2 or 3 times.

Meanwhile, make the gravy. Fry the onion in the butter, stirring every so often, on a medium heat until lightly coloured. Add the flour and continue cooking on a low heat and stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce and gradually stir in the red wine and beef stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Take the faggots out of the oven, drain off the excess oil and pour the gravy over them. Cover with foil, or a tight-fitting lid. Turn the oven down to 175ºC/Gas mark 4 and cook the faggots for 1 hour 15 minutes. If the gravy is not thick enough, remove the faggots with a slotted spoon and simmer the gravy in a saucepan until it thickens.

Serve with mashed potato or chips and peas - mushy preferably, which you can buy in tins.

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