Pork and Cabbage ‘Caillettes’ (Meatballs)

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Of course, we do have very much the same thing – faggots – in traditional English cooking. The caul fat is fairly essential in their preparation and you can get it from most good butchers. It is sold in sheets and, when you get them home and start working with them, you’ll probably find that great parts are unusable, as they are filled with holes. It is, however, incredibly cheap and freezes well.

Ingredients

  • Splash of olive oil, plus more for the roasting tray
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, ground to a powder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sprig of thyme, chopped
  • 500 g green cabbage or Swiss chard, leaves separated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 g pork back fat
  • 200 g smoked streaky bacon
  • 200 g chicken livers
  • 200 g pork liver
  • 200 g pork heart
  • 200 g pork lungs and spleen
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • About 300 g pork caul fat

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, bay, garlic, nutmeg and thyme. Cook gently until the onion is just translucent. Allow to cool.

Cook the cabbage or chard in boiling salted water until tender, about 15–20 minutes. Drain and refresh, then squeeze well to get rid of as much moisture as possible and chop finely.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas .

Coarsely mince the pork back fat and bacon, and finely mince the chicken livers, pork liver, heart, lungs and spleen.

Mix the cooled onion mixture with the greens, minced meats, eggs, parsley and seasoning. Shape the mixture into balls the size of satsumas. Wrap each in caul fat.

Brush a roasting tray just big enough to hold the caillettes in a single layer liberally with olive oil and pack them tightly together into it.

Bake for about 30–40 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

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