Faggots And Mushy Peas

A classic pub-grub recipe found on Picture Britain
Faggots And Mushy Peas

Abigail Rogers Young who runs Picture Britain writes: This would be one of those snigger-behind-your-hand British/American language differences. I’m sure that you Brits simply live for the look on your American friends’ faces when you say, “Oh yes, we’re having faggots and mushy peas for lunch. Oh, some mash as well, and we’ll cover the whole thing in gravy!”

This traditional British dish (also known as “savoury ducks”) seems to have been concocted for the purpose of using up absolutely every part of a pig that you would never eat otherwise, and was especially popular with the rationing of World War II. The “good old-fashioned way” to make faggots is with a pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring, and sometimes bread crumbs. The mixture is shaped into balls, wrapped with caul fat (the omentum membrane from the pig’s abdomen), and baked. Tasty, innnit?

So, my non-British friends, if you want to impress your dinner guests with your expertise in international cuisine, really make them wonder, or just want to gross them out, here is the recipe for British faggots (and please don’t forget the marrowfat peas!).

I have eaten this dish for lunch at countless pubs all over the UK and can assure you that it’s infinitely more tasty than it sounds like. But I’m Norwegian and we eat a lot of strange things here as well – Ted

25 g/1 oz unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
175 g/6 oz minced pigs’ liver
2 lamb or pigs’ heart, trimmed and cut into chunks
450 g/1 lb belly of pork, trimmed and rind removed
½ tsp mace
4 tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 tsp freshly chopped sage
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper
115 g/4 oz fresh white bread crumbs
25 g/1 oz beef dripping or 3 tbsp olive oil
4 red onions, peeled and each onion cut into 8 wedges
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
900 ml / 1½ pt fresh beef stock
290 ml / ½ pint red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper


[1] Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the onions. Cook until 1soft and transparent. Cool slightly.

[2] Place the belly pork onto a chopping board and cut into portions.

[3] Place the minced pigs’ liver into a large glass bowl and place under the blade of a mincer. Using a fine blade of a mincer, mince the pork belly and lambs heart directly into the bowl with the pig s liver. If you do not have a mincer at home ask your butcher to mince all your meat for you.

[4] Add the cooled chopped onions, mace, chives, sage, beaten egg and salt and pepper. Stir in the breadcrumbs.

[5] Using your hands shape the mixture into 12 patties. Place on a plate and chill for about 1 hour.

[6] Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 7. For the gravy: place the onion wedges into a large roasting pan or ovenproof dish. Add the thyme and drizzle over the olive oil. Place in the oven and roast uncovered for 40 minutes until the onions are caramelized

[7] Meanwhile heat the dripping or olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the faggots until golden brown on both sides.

[8] Place the stock and wine in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by a third.

[9] Remove the roasted onions from the oven and lay the faggots on top. Pour over the gravy liqueur.

[10] Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cook the faggots for 40 minutes.

[11] Place two to three faggots onto a plate. Top with a spoonful of the onions and pour over the gravy. Serve the faggots with mashed potatoes and green vegetables.