The haslet project came about after flicking through the Foods of England
website, a veritable banquet of recipe ideas, all focusing on forgotten regional recipes from around the British Isles. I remember having sandwiches as a child made from soft white bread - it was the '80s, all bread was white - and haslet topped with lashings of tomato ketchup but hadn't heard of this substance since. Maybe haslet is one of those forgotten regional delicacies? Turns out haslet is a speciality of Lincolnshire and makes it into the Foods of England directory. This all makes sense as the mothership is from Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe to be precise.
What ever is "haslet" you cry? It is: "Lean pork mince with breadcrumbs and onion, flavoured with sage. Baked as a loaf and served cold." I would argue that it is not exactly lean but it does guarantee instant sausage sandwich, whenever you want. There was also some debate over the pronunciation - "HAY-slet" versus "HAZ-let".
I followed the Foods of England recipe
- ½ lb coarse chopped belly pork
- ½ lb coarse chopped pig liver
- 1/4 lb stale breadcrumbs, soaked
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and black pepper
- caul fat to wrap
A rather disturbing picture of the chopped pigs liver (less disturbing if you have watched as many episodes of Dexter as I have recently). Don't be off put by this ingredient it adds a meaty, terrine-style taste to the haslet.
I have to put my hand up here and admit that this dish isn't much of a looker. I then wrapped it in caul fat and, in an attempt at prettying it up a bit, a few leaves.
I doubled the quantities and made two. I wouldn't necessarily advise this as it turns out that there is a limit to the amount of pork products that two people can consume in a weekend. The haslets were bunged in the oven until the tops were well browned.
The results were pretty good. Meaty and pleasingly piggy and moist. The meat would have benefitted from slightly more thorough chop and perhaps a little more sage. We demolished a healthy quantity, forking it like pate on to sourdough toast, between two slices of white bread with the remembered lashings of ketchup, and in a sort of haslet-hash brunch dish. Yummers.