Faggots and Peas

Faggot and Peas
A faggot is a kind of meatball, a traditional dish in the UK, especially the southwest of England, Wales, and the Black Country. It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. A faggot is traditionally made from pig heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes breadcrumbs. The mixture is shaped in the hand into balls, wrapped round with caul (a membrane from the pig’s abdomen), and baked. A similar dish, almôndega, is traditional in Portugal.

The first use in print cited in the OED is in 1851, from Thomas Mayhew, although this appears to be a calzone- or pasty-like dish, with an outer wrapper of caul, covering a filling of mixed pork offal. This was in London.

The dish saw its greatest popularity with the rationing during World War II but has become less popular in recent years. Faggots are usually homemade and are to be found in traditional butchers’ shops and market stalls.

A popular dish is “faggots and peas,” which is often served with gravy. The faggot and pea batch is a common post-pub snack in the West Midlands. Faggots are also known as “ducks” in Yorkshire and Lancashire, often as “savoury ducks”. “In Leigh market in 1905 you could buy a savoury duck rolled up in an oatmeal cake.”

Here are two recipes passed on to us by Keith of the Roath Conservatives Club

Faggots 1

  • 900g/2lbs pigs liver
  • 225g/8oz breadcrumbs
  • 225/8oz cooking apples (cored)
  • 2 onions
  • 225g/8oz lean bacon
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Caul (optional)

Soak the caul in boiling water (if using)

Mince the liver, onion, bacon and apple and place in a large bowl

Add the breadcrumbs and mixed herbs, and season well

Mould into tangerine sized balls and pack together in a baking tray.

Cover the faggots with the caul (if using)

Add a little water to the baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven 190˚C/375˚F/Gas Mark 5 for 35-40 minutes

Serve with gravy, mashed potatoes and mushy peas

Faggots 2

  • 2lbs minced pigs liver (or a mixture of pigs, calf or lambs livers)
  • 4ozs of breadcrumbs
  • 4ozs of butter
  • 2 large onions (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mace
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and then place in a greased backing tray

Cover with foil and place in an oven pre-heated to 250˚F. After about 20 minutes remove from the oven and mark into squares

Return to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes then remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes

Visit our Welsh Faggot Producers page