I love the old school meat products that once upon a time would grace every butchers’ shop up and down the country. Ranging from homemade corned beef to saveloy, one of many of my favourites is the classic faggot which is also called, for some reason, “ducks” in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire. It’s rarely seen now which is such a shame has they are lovely, easy, cheap and quick to cook. You might spot the famous “Mr Brian’s Faggots” that are sometimes in the frozen section of supermarkets and I’m not altogether sure what goes into them. But faggots have now started to spring up on gastro pub menus, like the Stagg Inn in Herefordshire. This is a good sign to see.
The published history of the faggot dates back to 1851 when it first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary.
I am often asked at work “what is a faggot?”. Well, traditionally, it is a mixture of pigs liver, fatty pork mince, fresh sage, fresh thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. I like to keep it simple and let the true flavour of the liver and mince shine. Pigs’ hearts have also been sometimes added along with breadcrumbs. It is then wrapped in caul fat which is a webb like meshing membrane from the pig’s abdomen. I compare them to almost a offal like meatball or a rustic French pâté. As faggots are hard to find I’ve put together my own simple homemade faggot recipe thats easy and fun to make at home. They also freeze well so fill that freezer up with them.
- 500g minced fresh pork liver
- 1kg fatty course minced pork
- 1 bunch of fresh sage and thyme
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic
- salt and pepper
- 300g caul fat soaked in water
Collect the herbs.
Either wrap them up for the freezer or cook them. I like them slow cooked in the oven at 150C for about one hour and served with mash, mustard and the faggot juices over them. If I have any greens like cabbage or sprout top they also work well. It is tradition in the Black Country to serve them with peas and onion gravy.
Enjoy with a nice glass of English Ale.
Charlie the Butcher.