BLACK PUDDING

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Lets start with a little warning.  This is Black Pudding.  It is delicious.  Now lets get down to the warning before you go any further.....

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS IMAGES OF BLOOD, LIKE A WHOLE JUG FULL OF THE STUFF.  IF THIS OFFENDS YOU CLICK THE LITTLE X IN THE CORNER AND ESCAPE NOW!


SO WHAT IS BLACK PUDDING?
Black Pudding is a true English classic and the lovely little County of Lancashire in the UK, where I was born and bred is famous for its Black Pudding.

Black Pudding is a blood sausage commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland.  It can be called by many names, Bloodwurst or Boudin Noir to name a couple but for me it's Black Pudding.  Ask for a full English breakfast and Black Pudding will sit proudly on your plate.  Its delicious and here in Canada my only option for getting some is to make it myself.

Now it looks like a Hollywood prop but I promise you that is what 2 litres of fresh pigs blood looks like. 

PIGS BLOOD?
Now I accept that 2 litres of pigs blood is not something you can get your hands on at Walmart and this process is one you are unlikely to try at home but sharing this may just open your eyes to a new way of thinking about an ingredients that is most often washed away as an unusable product.  For anyone wanting to make the most of an animal this is what nose to tail eating is all about and this allows you to eat everything but the oink!

BLACK PUDDING


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 litres fresh pig’s blood- you need access to a slaughter house for this as it must be fresh and it must be stirred straight after collection to prevent coagulation.  
  • natural casings
  • 50g salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 tablespoon rum/brandy/whisky (I use whisky)
  • 100ml milk
  • 100g oats
  • 1kg pork fat (ideally back fat)
  • 1kg onions, finely chopped
  • 500ml heavy cream

EQUIPMENT
  • plastic funnel
  • large clean bowls
  • ladle
  • sharp needle or pin stuck into a cork

METHOD


BLOOD & CASINGS

If you are collecting the blood from an abattoir/slaughter house it will need to be stirred while still warm to remove the ‘strings’ – natural clots that form as it cools. Some small abattoirs may do this for you. De-stringed blood can be kept in the fridge for up to 48 hours; or it can be frozen.

Soak the casings in cold water for an hour, then rinse them thoroughly. Put one end over the cold tap and flush out with water to remove all the salt. Cut into suitable lengths (about 40cm works well for one loop). Knot one end of each length and leave in a pile in a bowl of cold water.

BLOOD MIXTURE
Sieve the blood into a large clean bowl or bucket and stir in the salt, sugar, spices and alcohol. Warm the milk slightly, take off the heat, then add the oats and leave to soak.


Finely dice the fat, and put about a quarter of it to sweat in a large heavy stockpot that is big enough to contain all the ingredients. When the fat has run a little, add the onions and sweat very gently until soft but not coloured at all. Add the rest of the fat and sweat until the pieces are slightly translucent and more fat has run. Stir in the milk-soaked oats and the cream, then slowly pour in the seasoned blood, still stirring all the time, until it is thoroughly incorporated. The mixture will be very liquid!!

FILLING THE CASINGS
Take a length of casing and pull the unknotted end open end over the opening of the nozzle. Hold the casing in place with one hand and ladle the mixture into the funnel with the other. Have something handy to unclog the nozzle (I use a chopstick) as it may occasionally get blocked with pieces of fat. Fill over a clean bowl to catch any overflow. Don’t overfill, and leave a good 5–7cm at the top to tie a second knot in the casing. Tie the knot and place the Black Pudding gently on a large plate. Stir the mixture well before each filling to make sure the fat pieces are well distributed. Keep filling and tying until all the mixture, including the overspill, is used up.

COOKING THE BLACK PUDDING
Bring a large pan two-thirds full of unsalted water to the boil, then turn the heat down until the water has settled to the gentlest of simmers. Place 2 or 3 Black Puddings into the water. Wait patiently for them to return to a simmer, then after about 5 minutes’ prick the Black Pudding two or three times with a needle or pin. If a brown liquid comes out, they are cooked. If the liquid is still pink, put them back in the pan for a few more minutes. If at any point during the cooking, a Black Pudding floats to the top, prick it with the needle. This should prevent it bursting.

When they are done, remove from the pan and lower into a bowl of cold water. Leave for just a minute, then lay them on a cotton cloth to cool.

STORING
Cooked Black Puddings, once cool, should be wrapped in clingfilm (or better still, vac-packed) and stored in the fridge. In a properly cold fridge (4C or less) they will last for a fortnight – or a month if vac-packed. Unfortunately, they do not freeze well.


COOKING TO EAT
The Black Pudding is now cooked and can be eaten cold but I much prefer it cooked again.  My husband prefers to steam them till hot throughout. I prefer to slice them thickly and pan fry them till hot and crispy on the edges.  

They are a great addition to a salad with thick chunks of pan fried bacon.  They are great eaten as a sandwich between soft white bread.  They pair fabulously with a soft yolked fried egg and they are a breakfast champion!  


So even if you never make Black Pudding at least now if you are presented with one on travels to the UK you know what love and care goes into making each one of them.  They truly are a labor of love.  

Have you ever tried Black Pudding?  
Would you try it now you know how its made?



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1 comments

  1. I loved eating black pudding with my dad when we used to go to England to visit our grandparents! Now, however, I'm not so sure I will stomach it as well but will still give it a try just because I do remember how good it was!

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