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Beef faggots with red wine and onion gravy

By October 07, 2016 , , , , ,

Many people don't have a lot of experience of offal. I remember that my family ate a lot of it when I was younger. I think this was a hangover from the days when my grandfather was a butcher. The family would eat all the cheaper cuts and offal that wouldn't sell in the shop. So naturally my mother followed on with this even though we didn't have the butchers shop any more. I always loved kidney and heart, but not so much liver as it always ended up being over cooked. 

In my later years in London I discovered Fergus Henderson's St John restaurants and their motto of nose to tail eating. I also noticed that offal was on the decline in restaurants (other than St John) as well as butchers and shops. In recent years this has changed thanks to Mr Henderson's 2004 Nose to Tail and Complete Nose to Tail books (yes, I have both!). Sadly the popularity of these lesser meats has yet to catch on here in the Netherlands, but luckily I can order some from my butchers and direct from the farmers. 

Despite eating various cuts of offal over the years, I never got round to trying faggots until about 12 or so years ago. I was in a pub in Caernarvon in Wales and I remember them being served with a fantastic onion gravy and scrappy chips, they were fantastic.  

Faggots originated in the West midlands in the UK and then spread to Wales. They are a mix of pigs heart, lungs and liver minced and wrapped in caul and then roasted. For this recipe I opted for beef, Texas Longhorn to be precise, using heart, liver and brisket.

For the faggots
300g brisket (ensure there is some fat on the meat)
200g liver
300g heart
15g fresh thyme chopped
10g fresh rosemary chopped
salt and pepper to season
500g caul fat/crepinette (you will need to ask your butcher for this, or if you can't get hold of it then use thinly sliced bacon or pancetta instead)

For the gravy
150ml red wine
150ml beef stock
1 medium carrot roughly chopped
2 onions roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed to release the oils
Sprigs of thyme and rosemary

Using the fine blade on your mincer, mince the brisket, liver and heart or ask your butcher to do this for you
Place the meat into a bowl, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper, mix well to combine
Fry off a small piece of the mixture to check the seasoning and add more to the mix if needed
Form the mix into round balls (about 100g each), wrap each ball with caul or bacon if using to hold them together, this should make roughly 10 faggots
Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up

Preheat the oven to 150c (fan) 160c (normal), 
If cooking on the BBQ then set the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 160c and use a deep cast iron baking dish or pan
In a baking dish (oven method) or cast iron (bbq method) place gravy ingredients (veg, herbs, stock and wine) and place the faggots in the dish
Roast in the oven or BBQ for 40 minutes
Take the faggots out of the dish and place to one side and cover with tin foil to keep warm
Strain the gravy into a pan and reduce until it thickens, then serve with the faggots

I also like to serve this with a creamy mash

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  1. I wish you had made these on the BBQ haha ! Or not... Maybe I'll use this version as a base for BBQ Faggots :p They make me think about the french Caillette! I'm very curious how these taste! Awesome post!

  2. I was going to but I wasn't sure how the crepinette would hold on on the griddle. Offal can dry out quite easily so it's best to cook this in a sauce to keep the meat moist. The next time I make these I'll probably go with calves, rather than ox liver and maybe more heart.

  3. Honestly much respect but they look gross