Faggots and Onion Gravy

Faggots are an old fashioned English dish made from offcuts of meat (usually pork) and offal. I remember as a child my grandmother waxing lyrical about them and me turning my nose up in disgust. Of course, now I’m almost grown up, my tastes have changed and having lived in Spain for 7 years, I am used to enjoying every part of the pig, including the oink.

A local butcher in Bexhill on Sea sells home made (or butcher shop made) Faggots for the princely sum of 50p each. That’s less than a euro or a US dollar and I mistakenly bought 6 for Big Man and I to try. Bad plan. Two was plenty for him and I managed one and a half (although I did serve the leftovers cut up cold the next day meatloaf style and the dogs feasted too)!

Faggots & Onion Gravy (5)

This is not a recipe for making them. As I started typing this I thought, I’ll pop over to Mad Dog’s blog, he’ll have something on there about faggots. Of course he did. My method for preparing them to serve was very similar, but different. If you know what I mean.

I cooked my faggots in the oven in a deep oven dish covered tightly with foil for about 40 minutes on a medium heat. I had drizzled them with a little olive oil and a splash of water.

While they were cooking I fried off lots of thinly sliced onions until tender and starting to brown. Then I added the cooking juices from the faggots, some tomato purée and a splash of red wine and seasoning. Then I thickened with a heaped teaspoon of butter mixed with a heaped teaspoon of flour (I’m sure there’s a proper name for this, please enlighten me) which I dropped into the gravy and allowed to cook gently whilst it thickened. Next time (and there will most definitely be a next time) I’ll brown the faggots at the end of cooking while I’m finshing off the gravy so that they don’t look so in need of a week in the sun.

Pre cooking
Pre cooking

We served it with plenty of creamy mashed potato and a good glass (or three) of wine. An economy meal fit for a king. What more can you want on a cold winter’s night?

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78 thoughts on “Faggots and Onion Gravy

    1. Yes, I’m not usually the kind of girl to leave anything on her plate but (and maybe we’d had a little tapas or two beforehand) I was defeated! I knw you’d know about the butter flour thing…thanks so much!

      1. Had to tell you both…when I was working on my translation dictionary (Puerto RIcan food to English and back), I included faggots and had to include a disclaimer and put (GB) after it to help my American readers understand I wasn’t referring to sexual preference. My godson giggled anyway as he did editorial assistance.

      2. Yes…it’s one of “those” words which raises sniggers and giggles. I did debate whether to mention it…but no need…everyone has chipped in! I guess it’s the same for some US words which translate less well to English like pants and fanny. Oops…am I allowed to say that here?!

  1. Hmmm …. I’ve not heard of faggots for years! They are not really my cup of tea, so to speak, but I guess you could also do them in a chilli/tomato-ey/smokey sauce like I do for albondigas.

    Great wintertime food, Tanya 🙂

  2. Hmm, wonder if I will ever become nearly adult enough to eat tripe – then again, presented like this, I may just be tempted to give it a try – hope the pups didn’t finish everything, I’m on my way.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  3. First off, I love your blog! Second, let me have an immature little giggle that you have a dish called faggots. The “nice” American definition is “a bundle of sticks”, and I’m pretty sure you’re aware of the less nice one… Finally, to get to the point, I’m from Louisiana, and, since you asked, most of our traditional foods start with a roux, a thickener which starts with flour being slowly browned in butter or oil.

    1. Ah thanks for your lovely words and welcoem to the blog. Yes…it’s one of those funny old words with many meaning, most of them definitely worthy of a goggle. And thanks for reminding me about roux…didn’t realise it was a Lousiana staple for many dishes.

      1. I didn’t know the bundles of wood. I still turn my head when I hear someone ask for a fag when standing outside a pub. Not used to hearing it.

  4. I bought a single faggot in a butcher recently – The Management wont touch them – and this was the size of a tennis ball! It cost £1 and was wonderful. I also used the leftovers like meat loaf (I couldn’t finish it!) in a sandwich.
    Locally faggots are eaten with mushy peas (pronounced Paze – rhymes with gaze). Delish.

  5. Delicious. I have such good memories of faggots and gravy. I also have a bad memory of ready made ones bought from a supermarket. I think the current scare is going to make more people cook their own food. That’s got to be a good thing.

    1. Eek…I bought those frozen ones once when I was young and poor…I think that memory continued to put me off them. My butcher told me his are made from mainly pork belly and then liver, heart and herbs and seasoning. Can’t go wrong!

  6. It would sound like we had very similar grandmothers! Mine was forced into exile here in the Antipodes by a lack of work in her home town of Oldham Lancs. and as the oldest daughter in a family without a father she decided to bugger off and make life a bit easier for the rest of them. She always had a Saturday pot of Lancashire hotpot on the bubble in the oven right through all seasons. In Western Australia, where she settled, it gets pretty hot in summer but that pot of hotpot was always Saturday’s tea come rain or shine! Forget that 44C temperature that made the budgie fall off its perch…”It’s bloody Saturday and we are GOING to have Lancashire hotpot so get over it you lot!”… we also had the traditional sunday roast on Sunday (funny that 😉 ) BUT the rest of the week was where Gran triumphed. She always had something interesting on the stove and messed around with making curries (using real home made pastes from things she had grown and tried to source) WAY before anyone else made them (back in the 70’s). I remember turning up my nose at her faggots as well. The woman was an industrious food goldmine and long after she was gone I still marvel at how inventive she was out here in the Antipodies where broccoli was a new and incredibly marvellous thing in the mid 70’s and none of us knew what a McDonalds or K.F.C. were till we were in our mid teens (and even then, you only got one when you went to Perth, the capital city!).
    Gran (and then mum) used to make brawn from pigs heads and trotters and as a true Lancashire lass, she most certainly liked her offal! I am sure she snuck it into all kinds of recipes when we were children and offal in Australia wasn’t anything that Aussies ate en masse till well after the rest of the world decided that it was de rigeur! Liver was always for liver, bacon and onions and was as cheap as chips and so were lamb shanks for that matter! We lived on them as kids because they were so cheap, the butcher would toss them in with your weekly order for free! (Now that makes me sound REALLY old! 😉 ).
    You made a roux darling…a gorgeous, unctuous SPLENDIFEROUS roux :). You certainly know your way around a recipe. You NEED the smooth rich creamy flavour of slow cooked onions to balance out all of the rich offally flavour in the faggots and the gravy is making even me (a vego for 24 years) drool! The creamy mash is a masters touch on the end of what promises (in we poor readers minds) to have been a degustatory masterpiece of simple wholesome flavour bedecked food. Now THAT is what eatin’ is all about! You just elevated yourself up there with Nige Slater and even the pig of the North, Anthony Bourdain, the eater of puffins (but what a GORGEOUS sauce he gave them! 😉 ). Well done girl on making a vegan of 15 years drool for something she couldn’t stand when she was a kid and has never ever tasted…you might just have to be made the next pope for that miracle! 😉

    1. I can’t be the next Pope as my mum is on the shortlist for that job (she looks great in purple!) but I’m thrilled to hear how you feel. Was reading your blog last night and translating for Big Man and trying to explain the concept of a Vegan. It was a long conversation! However, I said to him “I love this blog because she’s a vegan, he’s not and they rub along perfectly, live a wonderfully sustainable life, make bread and spoons, share with their neighbours and don’t judge anyone for their likes and dislikes”. Big Man said “oh yes, I can see why you enjoy reading this blog, they’re like us. Apart from the spoons and being vegan!”. Tee hee 🙂 My best friend’s mum always made Sunday roasts (albeit in English temperatures) and I was always insanely jealous as we usually had Italian Sunday lunches. She envied me…we had Sunday lunch envy. Three cheers for your grandmother. Women like her were the backbone of Britain (and then the lands they moved to). She sounds like she was quite a character! I guess a lot of women of her generation had to make do on very little and look how they rose to the challenge.

      1. You LUCKY bollocks! I adore Italian food and swear I was Italian in a past life ;). Give the Big Man a hug from me and tell him that aside from being eccentric Antipodeans Steve is an expat Liverpudlian/Sarfender and I am a true blue (read crazy) Aussie who moved to uppercumbuckance (read Tasmania 😉 ) to the Aussie equivalent of Hillbilly central where vegans are to be “hunted, gutted and served up for bbq” rather than tolerated…I live life in the closet where gays are accepted (so long as they eat meat!) and openely embraced here in Tassie (we are fighting for gay marriage here folks!) we vegans are in the firing line! Tell the Big Man that I am a fellow bolshie babe, like yourself and he will not only feel sorry for Steve, but will openly embrace the idea of Serendipity Farm 😉

      2. Yes, I’m not complaining about being Italian…great food! And actually great for vegans with all those wonderful vegetable dishes. Have also tracked down the ancestors and we have lots of Liverpudlians in the family so maybe Steve and I are long lost cousins. Where we live in Spain sounds the same as where you are – we even have a village transvestite but ask for vegetarian food and they’ll offer you chicken broth with chopped ham or anything with chicken (cos that’s not meat, is it?!).

      3. We only have a village Californian but he certainly makes up for his lack of a nice frock by riding around on the smokiest old 2 stroke motorbike and by being completely and utterly crazy and passing out conspiracy theory C.D.’s and books to anyone who will foolishly take them ;). Yeh…the Tasmanian vegan go to is “chips”…pity most of them are fried in beef tallow! lol!!!!!

      4. Yup…beef drippings all the way! (I must have eaten more beef drippings as a “vegan” than I EVER did before I went veggo until I realised!!! 😉 )

  7. Oops…not roux…beurre manie! Roux at the start of the recipe and beurre manie when used to thicken stews, soups etc. and to give an unctuous thickened silky and rich creamy texture to a dish (the long suffering chef that had to teach me for 2 years would be proud of me remembering that one! 😉 )

      1. Pffft! Cheffy training in commercial cookery that I took all the way to several jobs in well known chain pizza shops, a torturous year as a short order cook and an early morning deli prep job! I adore cooking for the fact that it gets me delicious things inside me, not for the wank factor ;). Food is good…nuff said folks! No need to try to outdo each other by attempting to be the next Gordon Ramsey or Yotam ottolenghi, so long as it makes the recipient drool in anticipation, swoon with delight as they eat it, sit back in their chair, redolent with pleasure and convivial joy when they have finished and beg for the recipe after they recover…your job is DONE! 🙂

  8. Che parlare …specialistico ! Siete tutti chef ,voialtri!
    Ignoravo tante parole inglesi ,come” offal”, ” faggot”, ” brawn”, ” trotters”,andrò a cercarle sul vocabolario.
    I wrote in Italian…I hope you don’t mind…!
    P.S. I adore your blog

  9. Laughing at the conversations: what a wonderful lesson again 🙂 ! When I saw ‘faggots’ written down, for some very odd reason I thought the post was to be about beans! Lord knows where I picked that up, but since another meaning seems to be a ‘bundle of sticks’, well 😉 ! They look marvellous, absolutely my cup of tea, so have to find out more, starting with MDs blog 😀 ! The sexual meaning never entered my mind: perhaps we don’t use the term much in Australia – and since I am the least homophobic person in the country, may simply not have paid attention!!!!

  10. I am so uneducated.. for some reason i always thought that faggots were long like sausages, maybe I have drawn a parallel between these faggots and the kindling kind.. but I am quite sure I have never eaten them.. these don’t look half bad lovie! have a fab weekend c

  11. Hoho, after I’ve stopped giggling about the name (so immature!). I remember hearing about faggots years ago and I always thought they sounded revolting but I had them one time (and one time only) and I was amazed… they were incredible! It’s a bit like haggis I think… you think it’s going to be horrible and then you try it and it’s a huge, mostly pleasant, surprise!

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten faggots, but I’ve just realised that the fricandeaux we buy here are the same sort of thing, although they’re already cooked. Nice sliced and fried and eaten with salad or puy lentils…..or your creamy mashed potato, and definitely with wine!

  13. Despite my northern roots, faggots are a step too far for me. The husband, on the other hand, loves these. I just send him to his mother’s for supper when he feels the urge. Last week it was stuffed hearts. I wimped out at cooking those too! 😉

      1. And they all think I’m a lovely daughter in law for sending him to spend an evening having dinner with them, rather than a shockingly remiss wife for not cooking what he likes! Score!

  14. Though I’d heard this term used for some type of dish, I had no idea what it was, so thanks for enlightening me! It sounds interesting…and quite rich. I love the way they’re wrapped in the caul and your preparation sounds delicious…especially with some wine to enjoy alongside!

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