About this recipe:Faggots are a traditional British dish similar to meat balls but using more offal. They are a healthy, hearty, cheap dish that was popular from the 19th century right up until the end of rationing after the Second World War. It has slowly fallen out of fashion since. Serve with good mash, peas and hot English mustard.
Preheat the oven to 250 C / Gas 9 (or highest oven temperature).
In a frying pan over a medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until very soft. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the other ingredients, except the caul (if using) and add the onion. Mix together with your hands until really well combined. Fry a little of the raw mixture until it is no longer pink to see how it tastes, correct the seasoning accordingly.
Open up the caul and spread over a clean work surface. Take a fistful of the mixture and place it on the caul. Fold the caul over the top of the meatball and trim so it is nicely enveloped. Repeat until all are done. Arrange on a lightly greased baking tray.
Roast the faggots for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once until nicely browned, drain away any excess fat released during cooking.
For the gravy:
Meanwhile make the gravy. Warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat then add the onions and cook and stir for 20 minutes until nicely browned. Add the sugar and vinegar to the pan cook until the vinegar has evaporated and the sugar has caramelised. Turn the heat right down then sprinkle in the flour and cook gently, stirring, for a minute or so. Add the beef stock, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly, until all is incorporated and you have a nice thin gravy. Season lightly.
Remove the faggots from the oven after 30 to 40 minutes and pour in the gravy so that the liquid comes two thirds up the sides of the faggots. Drop the oven heat to 160 C / Gas 2/3.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour, or until the faggots are no longer pink in the centre and the gravy is bubbling. Check every 20 minutes or so, turn the faggots if they are getting too brown. Remove from the oven and serve.