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Try this recipe for game dumplings, then check out our game pie, roast partridge with pears, beef and ale stew and venison stew. Get more inspiration for cooking with game from our collection of venison recipes.

Mark Hix says: "As a child, I’d buy faggots in the chippy after swimming. I’ve stayed loyal to that spiced livery flavour ever since. Faggots are a good, cheap wintry dish. Generally they’re eaten with peas, frozen or mushy, though I prefer mashed potato or root vegetables such as neeps or coarsely mashed parsnips. You could also make a minted pea purée. I suggest making these with lamb or pork caul fat, which a butcher can order for you. It keeps all the flavours in during cooking and isn’t any different from sausage skin. I used the mincing attachment on my stand mixer for this, but you could use the chopping blade of a food processor or just buy ready-made mince."

Ingredients

  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • picked to make 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 3 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 200g minced pork belly
  • 250g minced pork or game liver
  • 350g minced game meat (such as pheasant, venison or hare)
  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp ground mace or nutmeg
  • 100ml red wine
  • 100-120g lamb or pig caul fat, soaked for 1 hour in cold water

SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • a generous knob butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100ml red wine
  • 250ml beef stock

Method

  • STEP 1

    Gently cook the onions, garlic, thyme and juniper berries in the oil in a frying pan for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the pork belly and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring well. Remove from the heat, tip everything into a large bowl and cool.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Mix the liver, game meat and breadcrumbs into the cooled pork belly mixture, then season well with salt, pepper and the mace. Stir in the red wine. Mould the mixture into 200g balls, wrapping each in a double layer of the caul fat. Roast the faggots in a deep baking tray for 20 minutes or until well-coloured, then drain off the fat.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and gently cook the onion, covered, for 8-10 minutes until lightly coloured – add a splash of water if they start to catch. Add the butter, flour and tomato purée, and stir well over a low heat for 1 minute. Add the mustard, stir well, then gradually add the red wine, stirring to prevent lumps forming. Gradually add the beef stock. Season, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

  • STEP 4

    Turn the oven down to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the faggots in an ovenproof dish with the sauce, then cover and bake for 40 minutes. Serve with boiled and crushed swede.

Like game? Try our best venison recipes

Venison Stew Recipe with Sloe Gin and Cheesy Polenta
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