Savoury Ducks

  • I have been looking at old North of England recipes and came across Savoury Ducks , which are also known as Faggots.
  • I think they are similar to  Polish liver pulpety .
  • They are made from pig’s liver, oats and sage and served hot with gravy.
  • Originally they would have been wrapped in caul – a thin lacy looking membrane of animal fat – and then cooked. Nowadays this is hard to find.
  • The origin of the names is obscure.
  • Use of the words savoury ducks was recorded 1840.
  • Some think it is a reference to the conical shape, which is like a duck’s egg.
  • The word faggots originally mean a bundle of sticks tied with string.
  • In 1851 the word faggots was noted as a type of meatball.

Ingredients

  • 500g pig’s liver
  • 150g of belly pork
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Lots of fresh sage leaves
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g oatmeal or rolled oats blitzed
  • Salt & pepper
  • Plain flour for shaping –  or
  • 50g butter or lard – if using tray method

    Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4– 180°C.
  • Slice the liver, onions and pork thinly.
  • Put in an oven proof dish, which has a lid, with the thyme, sage, salt and pepper and cover with water.
  • Cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  • Strain off the liquid and save for the gravy.
  • Add more fresh sage leaves to the cooked ingredients.
  • Mince (or use a mini-chopper)the cooked liver, meat, onions and extra sage finely.
  • Add the beaten egg and oatmeal to make into a fairly firm mixture.
  • Leave for around 20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C.
  • With floured hands form the mixture into small balls.
  • Place in a baking tin with some of the strained liquid at the bottom.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until nicely browned.
  • Serve with thickened gravy made with more fresh sage.

Variation

  • An easier option is to press the mixture into a well greased baking dish.
  • Mark out into squares.
  • Dot the top with the butter or lard.
  • Again bake for 45 minutes and serve with thickened gravy made with more fresh sage.

Lovely Liver!

For many people  – liver is love it or loath it.

I think certainly for me and most Poles it is love it!

The Polish for liver is wątroba – which means “waste maker” – as the liver is the organ in the body where substances are broken down.

In Poland the most sought after livers  are calves liver & rabbit liver.

My aunty in Białystok- cooked some rabbit liver for me when I  was there last – I thought it was utterly delicious  –  but as far as I am aware it is not readily available to buy in England.

I  see calves liver for sale more and more here in England and I  buy this whenever I can.

My mother always cooked pigs’ liver, never ox liver.

I usually cook lambs liver if I cannot get calves liver.

I think liver is best lightly cooked, even slightly pinky,  it becomes hard and tough if over cooked.

There is a restaurant in Krakow called Dom Polonii ( House of the Poles) just off  Rynek Główny (Main Square) it serves very traditional dishes.

Rynek Główny (Main Square)

 

I like to eat there very much and can never make up my mind which dish I want the most. Their fried liver is super and I will have that at least once when I visit Kraków.

Liver is the main ingredient of  pâtés and similar dishes which are very popular in Poland –  I will look at these in future posts.

Cooking Liver

These recipes are all  variations on a simple theme.

I use calves or lamb’s liver for these recipes .

Preparing the liver

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip each piece into a mixture of plain flour and ground black pepper.

 Simple Style Liver

Lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices)

 

 

 

 

Liver with Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the simple style but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Return to the heat  and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

Liver with Onions 1

In my old Polish cookery book  (my bible in many respects) this simple recipe (without the herbs) is called  …. po angielskiu  which means  …. English style!

Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

Fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden.

In a separate pan lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add the onions to the fried liver and mix together and serve.

 

Liver with Onions 2

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

In a pan, fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden. (You can fry a little longer to slightly char or caramelise them if you like)

In a separate pan, lightly fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

This will give a tasty sauce with the liver.

Place the fried onions on top and serve.

Liver with Mushrooms

Thinly slice mushrooms around 100g of button mushrooms

Fry them gently in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil.

Add the mushrooms to the fried liver as in the simple style above and mix together.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -4  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

Liver with Mushrooms & Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the Liver with Mushrooms but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Heat up slowly and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

 

Served here on Royal Doulton – Carnation, 1982-1998

Serving suggestions

Sprinkle liberally  with chopped parsley.

All of the above go well with boiled potatoes, creamy mashed potatoes, boiled rice, noodles or pasta such as tagliatelle.