My Grannies Faggots and Pease pudding gnocchi in a tomato sauce….. Offaly good

By Simon    

March 31, 2014

I was out for lunch with my mother chatting about old memories of food with me, her and my grandma and some of the recipes they used to cook together. We were taking a little nostalgic trip and her faggots turned up in the conversation. They seemed to appear regularly at her table, evoking fond memories of family bonfire nights eating pipping hot pease pudding and faggots. So we dug through her old recipe books and notes and as a last winter dish this year, we give you " Faggots "...
And yikes! I can really feel the fear of presenting this dish to my children, I wonder what there response will be ?

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yields: 4 Generous

Ingredients

500 Grams Pork belly

150 Grams Streaky bacon

150 Pigs liver

100 Pigs heart

150 Grams Breadcrumbs

1 tsp Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

1 Onion

1 Dash Rapeseed oil

2 Eggs

2 Handful Sage leaves fresh picked

300 Grams Yellow split peas

25 Grams Butter

1 Onion

1/2 tsp Dried thyme

1 Bay-leaf

Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 Egg

4 tbsp Plain flour

1 Handful Flat leaf parsley

Directions

To make the Faggots - Heat the oil in a frying pan over a gentle heat.  Add the onions and fry, stirring, for 5 mins until the onion is softened, remove and cool.  In a large mixing bowl add all the faggot ingredients including the cooled onions, combine well, shape into balls and warp in a double layer of caul, place in a ovenproof dish and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

In a pan of rapidly salted boiling water, add the yellow split peas, and cook until softened.  In a frying pan add the oil/butter and onions and soften about 5 mins.  Add the seasoning and herbs and once the split peas are soft, drain add the onion herb mix, combine, add beaten egg and whizz it all up to a smooth pudding mixture.  Add sifted flour and cook gently for a few minutes , to combine and cook out the flour.  Place the mixture into a pipping bag.

To make a simple tomato sauce - Finely chop 1 large onion, a couple of sticks of celery and a carrot (sofritto) and sweat in a little oil with a smashed garlic clove or two.  Don't brown them, it will make the sauce bitter.  When the onion is translucent, add either a tin of chopped tomatoes, or a bowl of freshly picked cherry tomatoes, or a can of slow roasted plum tomatoes roasted with balsamic and garlic and olive oil, or a jar of passata.............. My point is, use what you can get, though the fresh option is in a class of its own! Season with beautiful sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then get playing!

Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped chillies with the onion for heat (the seeds are the hottest part), throw in a handful of fresh chopped basil with the tomatoes, a teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme, or how about finely chopping some fennel with the sofritto for a subtle aniseed flavour? delightful with fish..........

Cook out for a minimum of 30 minutes though the longer you leave it the more concentrated and delicious it will become.

Either blend up for a smooth sauce or leave for a more chunky sauce........

This sauce can be used on its own as a pasta sauce or mixed with seafood, fish, chicken, vegetables, used as a base for ratatouille - the list is endless, it is perfect for using a glut of tomatoes, you can freeze it, bottle it............get experimenting and become that Italian mama!

Bake the faggots in a pre-heated oven 180c for 45 mins.  Make your simple tomato sauce (roughly 1 litre) and half way through the cooking time add to the pan of faggots.  Get a large pan of salted water on the go ready to cook the gnocchi.  Pipe the paste through the pipping bag into the water cutting each little morsel at about 2 cm in length.  The gnocchi is cooked when it floats back to the top of the pan, about2-3 mins, drain and add to the tomato sauce for the last 10 mins of cooking, stirring and coating the gnocchi in the sauce.

Serve straight to the table with a large handfuls of fresh finely chopped parsley.

 

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