I’m having a big cook up today and I’ll blog it as I go along.
I haven’t made faggots in ages and they are another recipe that sends Dearly Beloved weak at the knees along with apple crumble and steak and kidney pudding. Both of us have parents who were children in war time and grew up in rationing and then brought us up in similarly hard financial times. Hence, the old fashioned recipes that we really love. Faggots are a kind of meat balls which make the most of the very cheapest cuts – offal. Mine have lambs liver and some recipes use heart, but it’s actually quite expensive so I leave it out.
How to? – all ingredients are minced on ‘pulse’ in my food processor. Consequently, this takes no longer to make that it takes the oven to heat up. Start off by putting two roasting dishes in the oven with a covering of oil, dripping or lard in the bottom. Use what ever you have. I put some fat in so they don’t stick.
|Currently on offer in Tesco for £1 for 4 – but they have a very low meat content, but still a good price.|
Here’s the ingredients –
Half a loaf of wholemeal or any bread – whizzed up into bread crumbs in my food processor – tip them into your very biggest mixing bowl.30p
One whole pack of onions – 69p – half goes into a saucepan to make the onion gravy and half into the big mixing bowl
One whole pack of lambs liver – almost three quarters of a kilo of £1.27
Four slices of belly pork – I cut the rind off, cut into the slices into cubes and then ‘pulsed’ until pork mince. Check!!!! If pork mince is cheaper, or on offer, then use that instead! Today, belly pork slices were cheaper – £2.22.
One pack of cooking bacon. I use the Tesco value at 99p – this is 500g.
I then add a heap of seasoning. Paprika, sage, garlic. I minced fresh in with the onions but I’ve used garlic powder or granules when that’s all I have, plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you have herbs in the garden, in the warmer months, finely chop those and add them. I’ve used chopped parsley before.
When you have all the minced ingredients in the bowl, I use my hands to keep mixing it well together. I then use a spoon to measure out similar size balls, in this case about the size of a tennis ball. I then gently rolled them in flour to help them stick together when roasting. I cooked them on a high heat for 30 minutes, turning them over half way.
Whilst they were cooking, I made the gravy. Heat some fat (any will do) in a saucepan and then gently fry the onions until almost see through. You can cook them until brown if you like that flavour. I added a tin of sliced mushrooms, just because I had some spare. I then added some instant gravy mix and poured boiling water on top. Instead of Worcestershire sauce, I simply use Tesco Value brown sauce and an equal splash of Tesco value ketchup. There you are, gravy!!!
Take the cooked faggots out of the oven and pour half the gravy over each roasting tin and then put back in the oven on a lower heat for another 20 – 30 minutes until all the gravy has taken on the flavour of the faggots.
All over the country ‘gastro-pubs’ are embracing the wonderful regional and seasonal dishes we have and that includes faggots. They are best served with mashed potato and peas. We usually have dark savoy cabbage with ours and they are equally delicious with oven chips and a tin of mushy peas (or make your own). In a local pub or restaurant, they usually charge about £12 for this simple lunch. I made 28 faggots for about £5.50 + 50p for the cooking, so £6 altogether. We’ll eat two each. By my simple maths, that 42p a portion, plus a few spuds and peas brings this meal well under a £1 a portion. It’s proper old fashioned thrift if you have a large family. It’s also very easy to freeze. When cooled, I will spoon four faggots and gravy into a freezer bag and simply pop that into my freezer. Today, I made and froze seven meals for the future. Plus, I’ll melt DB’s heart every time I serve them to him!
Love Froogs xxxxx