Faggots, a speciality of Wales, are exactly the same as the French crepine or crepinettes and yet another link with Brittany. The term faggot is derived from the Old French fagot, meaning a “bundle of sticks or branches, usually meant for use as firewood”. A similar dish called ’savoury ducks’ is found in northern English counties, probably an ancestor of the Welsh faggot.
As in France, faggots are always made around pig killing time, usually from not only the liver but also other intestines, and traditionally they were wrapped in a pig’s flead – that is, the thin, lacy membrane marbled with fat, from the pig’s inside. This is known as the “caul” (not to be confused with “cawl”, the Welsh stew dish). Faggots are oven roasted and traditionally, served with brown gravy, peas (most often, mushy peas) and Welsh bread spread with Welsh salted butter. These days, in keeping with public tastes, pig’s innards are no longer used.
Faggots are still made daily in Wales, and can be found in many market towns. The most famed of all is Neath Market, where faggots and peas have been served since the 1920’s and still a favourite today, a Faggots and Peas Competiton is held every September.
Historically, both faggot and various pasties were eaten a lot in Wales, especially by miners, quarry and furnace workers, for they were easy to transport, could be made at least the day before and provided valuable protein needed for such strenuous work.
Faggots (Ffagod)Course: Recipe
1 lb 450g pigs liver
2 large onions
4oz 100g breadcrumbs
3oz 75g suet
2 teaspoons chopped sage
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Finely mince the lover and onions and place in a bowl
- Add the breadcrumbs, suet, sage, salt and pepper and mix well
- Shape into small balls
- Place in a greased over tin and bake in moderate oven for approx 30 mins
- Remove faggots and add boiling water to a little flour to the tin to make gravy
- Serve piping hot with potatoes and green vegetables