Faggots with gravy
Preparing one of our lambs for the freezer on Friday someone mentioned faggots as a way of using up some of the offal. The recipes I read were so varied that I took the basic idea and used the ingredients available; so this is not a classic recipe but an encouragement to experiment.
The result was mouth watering: light, full of flavour, tender and succulent. So much better than my best memories of that succulent meat ball in rich gravy that we used to buy ready prepared in a foil container.
We ate them with courgettes and new potatoes straight from the veg garden. The rest are in reserve for dinner tomorrow evening, an English speciality for our French visitors. Is there a French equivalent? We will find out.
- 1 ½ large onions
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 10g sheep’s caul (it should be possible to buy pig’s caul at the butchers)
- 300g rabbit’s liver
- 100g lambs heart
- 220g lamb trimmings, from the breast etc
- 360g belly pork
- 100g white bread without crusts
- fresh parsley, sage and thyme or 1tsp dried thyme and sage, 1 tbs dried parsley
- pinh of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- ¾ pint of stock (I used a veal stock powder)
- 1tbs rapeseed oil
Gravy for 6-8 faggots
- ½ large onion
- ½ oz bacon fat or butter
- 1tbs plain flour
- Degreased stock from the braising
- water if necessary
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- small glass of red wine or sherry
Set the oven to 180ºc. Finely chop and sauté the onions in oil until translucent, add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Grate in the nutmeg.
Mince all the meats together. I used a hand mincer using the medium (¼”) holes. Make the bread into crumbs with the parsley, sage, thyme and nutmeg.
Add salt and pepper and thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Shape the mixture into 20 balls, about 50 grams each. Wrap each one in the caul if available. It is not essential but it provides a thin layer of fat that you can replace by basting with a little melted butter, lard or dripping.
Place in a deep baking tray and pour in the stock. Cover with foil and cook for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Pour off some of the liquor and degrease. Taste to see if it suitable to use as a stock for the gravy, use fresh stock if the liquid is too salty. Turn off the oven and leave the faggots in there whilst you make the sauce if you intend to eat them at once. Otherwise remove the faggots into a covered dish, allow to cool then refrigerate and/or freeze.
To reheat: place the defrosted/fresh faggots in a pan with stock and simmer for ten minutes, serve with gravy.
Making the gravy
Finely slice the onion and sauté in butter, add the flour to make a roux, cook for a couple of minutes then add red wine, or sherry and some of the reserved cooking liquor from the braising or fresh stock to achieve a coating sauce (about the texture of double cream.) Check the seasoning. Place the faggots in a serving dish and cover with the sauce. Serve piping hot.
Tip: before shaping the faggots make a small ball, about the size of a large marble and press it into a patty and fry in a little oil. Taste it to check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper, nutmeg, and herbs to suit your palate. This is also a useful tip when making pate.