The recipe recommends adding pigs heart, but upon visiting my butcher and asking for pigs liver, pigs heart and caul fat (which the faggots are traditionally wrapped in), he couldn't help me. These cuts are not in vogue, and so they don't sell them. Morrisons helped me out with the pig liver though; they have an astonishing range of alternative cuts of meat. Alas, another obstacle - I visited no less than 4 supermarkets and not one of them had sage in stock. Apparently all the Canadians had snapped it up for their Thankgiving stuffings. I persevered and was rewarded with this handsome meal.
This is seriously rib-sticking stuff; perfect for this autumnal weather. The seasoning was spot on. Rich and deeply meaty with a hint of liver here and there, the faggots were juicy without being greasy. The thyme flavoured the faggots nicely, and the only criticism I had was that I felt they needed a touch more sage. I had an accident while hand-mincing a slab of pork belly, and I almost took the top of my index finger off; much bleeding ensued and the rest of the mincing wasn't as fine as it could have been.
Makes 6 Faggots
500gms Pork Belly (trim off the skin and, unless you are a savage, keep to make crackling)
250gms Pigs Liver
250gms Lamb Breast
125gms Pig Heart (optional, but adds real flavour)
125gms of breadcrumbs (made using day old bread)
1 Large white onion (finely chopped)
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of white pepper
1 Teaspoon fresh sage (finely chopped)
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme (finely chopped)
If you can find caul fat at your butcher all the better, but if not, strips of good unsmoked back bacon will do just as well.
Mince all the meats together, mixing to make sure they are combined. Add the onion, the salt, pepper and herbs and mince once more to the texture of a rough pate. Add the breadcrumbs and mix well. Form the mixture into cricket ball sized balls and wrap in caul fat or in a criss-cross of bacon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to firm. Bake in a pre-heated oven at around 180c/350f/Gas 4 for fifty minutes to an hour. Serve with a thick rich gravy and a bowl of homemade mushy peas doused liberally with malt vinegar. I added a glob of mint sauce to my mushy peas which also worked brilliantly.
(Any leftover faggots work fantastically chopped up into bubble and squeak...)