Offal isn’t pretty. It’s slimy, it doesn’t smell nice and (probably because of this), it isn’t commonly used, which only increases the ‘fear factor’.
But it turns out it can be delicious! And I wasn’t 100% convinced before trying these.
I wonder how many of you have tried ‘Mr Brain’s Pork Faggots’ and thought they were amazing, without actually knowing what they’re made from. I own to assuming it was pork mince or something. I took some round to my nan’s house as I had some spare and I know she likes them, and my brother was there: ‘Why didn’t you bring me any!? I love faggots!’ ‘Pork liver?’ I asked. ‘Err no I hate pork liver!’ Well… that’s what they’re made of…
Anyway, my uncle gave me an old handed down recipe for these, and I was surprised by the ingredients. Surely these must taste completely different to the ones you can buy ready made? But they don’t! The texture is smoother, but this is no bad thing. And I include a recipe for the gravy too. I cannot stress the umami-ness 🙂
I’ve made some changes. The original recipe recommended pigs caul, but I asked for this at my butcher’s and they didn’t stock it. I was told that people use streaky bacon instead nowadays. I also added garlic, because, garlic.
For me, this yielded 14 small-ish faggots.
I had 2, my boyfriend had 4. So, depending on appetite it can serve 4-7. Helpful?
- 1lb pork liver
- 125g pork fat
- 2 medium onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 6-8 slices streaky bacon
- 1 egg, beaten
- breadcrumbs (approx 50g)
- pinch of nutmeg, grated
- pinch of sage, dried
- pinch of basil, dried
- pinch of thyme, dried
- salt and pepper
For the Gravy:
- pork or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- Slice the liver, onions, garlic and pork fat thinly. Put in a saucepan with the herbs and seasoning. Barely cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, then strain off the liquid and save for the gravy.
- Mince the contents of the saucepan finely (I used a food processor). Add the beaten egg and enough breadcrumbs to create a fairly firm mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- To make the gravy, heat the reserved liquid until simmering. Turn the heat down low. Now be prepared to whisk (you will need a balloon whisk) as if your life depends on it. I mean it. As if you were on the last level of some game and you need some serious whisking action to win. Okay, now add the flour and WHISK! Don’t hesitate! Now relax, and start adding the stock a little at a time. Whisk briefly after each addition. Then it is simply a matter of preference. For a thicker gravy, leave to bubble away for longer. For a thinner gravy, add more liquid. Of course you can add seasoning but I really don’t think you’ll find it necessary.
- Back to the faggots. Preheat the oven to 200°c. Form the pork mixture into balls and enclose each one in some streaky bacon (I used about half a slice for each faggot). Place in a baking tray or casserole dish and add a thin layer of gravy over the bottom. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked to your liking.
- Serve with mash, peas and the rest of the gravy!
And excuse the photo – I am no expert.