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 pig’s 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.