Faggots and Mash with Peas

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up with a staple of the Midlands in the UK have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite!

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up in the UK they have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite

Faggots and Mash with Peas

Here I go being all populist again. I don’t care how popular rabbit or venison or wild boar are, this is just the food I love and this one is that to the power of a dozen or so!

This one is an old friend of a recipe from my childhood, faggots and mash… Yes, it really is called that and has been called that for a very long time. The oldest reference in writing dates back to 1851.

Now I have heard of people getting their faggots and mash posts deleted from Facebook. Why? Because a section of society decided to turn the name of a dearly held meatball recipe into a homophobic slur.

I’ll not be dissuaded! These are the unequivocal king and queen of the meatball world. None of your soft and gentle here, big strong iron-rich flavours.

But they are still a meatball at heart! sharing much of the same techniques and ideas behind my honey and mustard chicken meatballs or those in my spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

Yes, folks if you don’t like offal you should probably move on! Faggots get their magic from liver, heart, kidney and even lungs if you wish. They are traditionally wrapped in caul fat or crepinette.

Crepinette is the web like fat that holds the kidney and liver all in place. As a result, it makes it the perfect way of holding together these soft meatballs.

Sadly I can not get caul fat here no matter how hard I try so I have adapted the offal levels to keep my faggots and mash on point without the need to be held together.

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up in the UK they have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite

Mr Brians Faggots!

Growing up faggots and mash always came from the freezer, well the faggots anyway… And the brand name was Mr Brains faggots, so here you go Mr Brians faggots for you!

The dish is very much a regionally influenced. I’m from the Midlands pretty much the heartland of these wonderful meatballs.

However, if you head a little bit further north, not to far maybe a hundred miles or so they are called ducks.

There is also something fairly similar in Hungary. They are larger and called a cipő, which means shoe or slipper.

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up in the UK they have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite

Don’t Forget The Gravy.

Anyway, I digress, the other thing that faggots and mash need are a kick-ass gravy. And this gravy really does kick ass and is heady with the flavour of Worcestershire sauce and sweet from the onions.

Of course, the potatoes should be mashed, not pureed, stick as much butter and cream in there as you can but do not turn it into a puree!

They should remain fluffy, otherwise mashing all that rich gravy in just does not work. For more on mash, you should check out my guide to mashed potatoes.

I’m sure purists will be along soon to say that the peas should be mushy peas. But I disagree mushy peas are for fish and chips and I am always right so there!

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up in the UK they have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite
Faggots and Mash with Peas

Faggots and Mash with Peas

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Faggots and Mash were the meatballs I grew up with a staple of the Midlands in the UK have sadly fallen out of favour but these old skool classics are still my favourite!

Ingredients

For the Mash:

  • 500 g Potatoes, Something floury is good
  • 75 g Butter
  • 75 g Heavy Cream

For the Faggots:

  • 400 g Pork Belly
  • 150 g Pork Shoulder
  • 400 g Pork Liver, Swap out for 200g liver and 200g of heart if you like
  • 250 g Onion, Finely diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Mashed
  • 1 Tbsb Oil
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Dried Sage
  • 1 Tsp Celery Salt
  • 1/2 Nutmeg, Grated
  • 150 g Breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp Flour

For the Gravy:

  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil, Neutral
  • 50 g Butter
  • 100 g Onion, Sliced into 5mm half moons
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 500 ml Beef Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

For the Faggots (Time: 125 minutes):

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry off the onion, garlic, sage and thyme and fry on a low-medium heat for 10 minutes to soften but not colour.
  2. Get your butcher to grind the meat and offal for you or do it yourself and mix it together with all of the ingredients apart from the flour and form into 100g faggots.
  3. Heat your oven to 200°C with a heavy based skillet or frying pan.
  4. Roll the faggots in the flour.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp of oil to the pan and add faggots and cook for 25 minutes turning 2 or 3 times.
  6. Now make the gravy, heat a pan over a medium high heat and add the oil and butter.
  7. Add in the sliced onion and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle over the flour and stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Pour in the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and the tomato puree stirring all the while.
  10. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  11. Taste your gravy and add salt and pepper as required, now pour over your faggots and cover the pan with tin foil.
  12. Reduce the heat to 160°C and cook for an hour and a half.

For the Mash and Peas (Time: 40 minutes):

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into evenly sized pieces and boil in salted water until cooked.
  2. When the potatoes are almost cooked heat the cream.
  3. Either mash the potatoes or put them through a potato ricer and then stir in the butter and warmed cream.
  4. Finally boil some peas and serve.

Notes

This serves 4, they freeze really well like any other meatball. I usually freeze with some of the gravy and then defrost before reheating in the oven in a foil 'container'.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1369 Total Fat: 79g Saturated Fat: 35g Trans Fat: 2g Unsaturated Fat: 38g Cholesterol: 843mg Sodium: 1345mg Carbohydrates: 79g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 10g Protein: 84g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Readers Comments

28 thoughts on “Faggots and Mash with Peas”

  1. Thank you for a wonderful trip down memory lane!..here in Canada we used to be able to get them (when there was M&S here),but sadly,unless you can find an authentic British supplier,it’s difficult,plus,I guess,these days being so PC the name probably would offend,but,absolutely loved these (I’m British/raised in Canada),but you have me yearning for them!..Going to make these a.s.a.p!..Thank You!..Cheers!

    • Thanks Carolyn, food memories form a significant part of what I do here, I’m from the Midlands so Faggots and mash were part of my food childhood. Sadly offal has fallen greatly out of favour and that has taken a bite out of the faggot market. They are making something of a resurgence in fancy pants restaurants in the UK so maybe one day they will resurface!

  2. Absolutely bostin recipe!

    We haven’t eaten these since leaving the Black Country in 1997. I made them for my Dad for Fathers Day (in NZ its Sept) and he said they were perfect.

    My kids are born and bred Kiwis – tonight was their first ever taste of Faggots and they scoffed every last bit.
    I doubled the recipe and had to substitute the pork liver for lambs liver as I couldn’t get pork liver anywhere here and I added 250g lambs kidneys to make up the difference. I’ll be making these again and again and again. Thank you!

    • Thank you for taking the time to write to me Jo. Your comment made my day!

      So glad to hear that some wee Kiwis are embracing the joy of Faggots, your changes sound perfect, the joys of living away from your homeland always mean getting creative with substitutions.

  3. Your recipe sounds delicious and I’m really looking forward to trying it. Just one query. The pork and liver total weight is 950g. This seems like a huge quantity for just two servings. Is the servings number right? I’ll have a better idea when I make it I guess but I hate waste and don’t want to make too much for just two of us. Can the dish be frozen
    successfully in its finished state?

    • Hey Linda, you are correct sorry, I have updated the servings this is for 4 not 2… I usually freeze with the gravy and then defrost and heat in the oven covered with foil.

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention, most of what I cook is for two and I must have been in auto pilot. I have updated the recipe accordingly 🙂

  4. Bloody love faggots!!! I grew up in Brum and now live in Australia where faggots and peas don’t really play a part in the menu. The last faggots I had were at the Black Country Museum a couple of years ago and I miss them very much. I am going to attempt to make yours as they look delish!! Thanks for the recipe x

    • Same here… We have something similar to faggots here in Hungary but they are not the same, as I mention I had to change the recipe up a lot as I can’t get caul fat so the texture is very slightly different but they taste superb… Enjoy 😀

  5. Loved the faggots it reminds me of the faggots we used to buy from a mrs cooksley our local butcher as a child many many years ago.
    Question, I’m a bit confused about the two lots of breadcrumbs in your recipe, or am I reading in incorrect?

    • Thanks for flagging up my error Mike, the first lot of breadcrumbs were my estimation and the second lot my correction whilst I was taking the recipe from my memory to writing it down. I forgot to delete the first, glad you liked them, they are our winter favourite.

  6. Sounds great Brian.One question tho. I have sliced pork belly in the freezer. which has skin on. Is it best to leave on or trim. Recently made ure pork belly red cabbage recipe. Lovely, perfect cooking times. Was not sliced pork belly, just pork belly. Crackling was great. Thanks, Peter

    • Hey Peter… Glad you liked the pork belly, you will be fine using your froozen pork belly for this but you will need to remove the skin, it will not break down in the faggot so it will get proper chewy. I’ll amend my recipe tomorrow to make that clear.

      Have fun, these are a real blast from my childhood and I love em!

  7. My grandmother in London England would occasionally make, for the family, faggots and pease pudding. It was, accoding to my mother, a real treat. Does anyone have a recipe for pease pudding?

  8. This is definitely a new one on me but it’s looks beautifully delicious!! I’m venturing out and will give this a go! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Being from the U.S. the term does catch me off guard, however I really enjoyed reading your post. I learned a lot. Including that in terms of these types of regional European foods I would be a total wimp! LOL Your gravy recipe sounds delightful and I’m always a fan of meat and potatoes (but the soft and gentle kind).

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