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Eating Welsh faggots with Gelert

RECIPE

I can still remember, when I was six or seven years old, travelling down to Pontardawe in South Wales for the weekend to see my Grandmother. We would arrive just in time for lunch on a Saturday. She had a Bullmastiff dog called Gelert. The problem was she had always fed him titbits from the table - a big mistake as this causes the dog to drool all the time.

In those days all little boys used to wear shorts!

Lunch would always be home made faggots with peas, all smothered in Bovril gravy with slabs of fresh white bread, thick with real butter. Of course, Gelert would take up station under the table, usually around my legs . . . but the faggots were great.

This is the recipe for Faggots from back then, real comfort food, which can be enjoyed just as much today as it was then . . . and it is a really easy, low budget meal to prepare.

You will either need a mincer or an electric mixer to do the preparation. I always cook my faggots ahead and then warm them up when I wish to eat them. This allows the flavours to intensify and makes the faggots richer.

If you would like to see illustrations of the process have a look at The Illustrated Birth, Life and Death of a Faggot.

Ingredients 

1 lb (455 g) lambs liver
1/4 lb (115 g) onions
6 ozs (170 g) white bread crumbs
4 tsp dried sage
1 beef OXO cube
Knob of butter for each faggot

1/2 pt (330 ml) water

Method

  • Make your bread crumbs by putting the dried bread in the mixer on a high setting until you have fine bread crumbs.
  • Put bread crumbs in large mixing bowl.
  • Chop onions in the mixer and add to the mixing bowl, this can be as fine or as coarse to suit your own tastes.
  • Chop the liver in the mixer and add to the mixing bowl, this can be as fine or as coarse to suit your own tastes.
  • Add the sage and mix thoroughly.
  • Shape the mixture into small balls (should make 8 to 10).
  • Place in a greased ovenproof dish or tin.
  • Put a small knob of butter on each faggot.
  • Make stock with OXO (beef) cube and water and pour around the faggots.
  • Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven (180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4) for fifteen minutes.
  • Remove foil and cook for further fifteen minutes.
  • Remove faggots and when cool cover and keep in the fridge until required.

To serve:

  • To reheat place the required number of faggots in a saucepan with beef stock (OXO or preferably Bovril) two-thirds of the way up the faggots. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Thicken stock to make a gravy and pour over.
  • Serve with garden peas (or mushy peas) and thick slices of freshly buttered bread.

Makes 8 to 10

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