A classic British blood sausage
Black pudding has seen a revival in Britain: it’s back on the breakfast plate, alongside bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans and hash browns as an essential ingredient of the ‘full English’. It’s also in gourmet dishes, transformed into croquettes (as with haggis) and as a partner to delicate seafood such as scallops, monkfish and turbot. It is back, and not just for those on the breadline, but on the menu at farm shops, Michelin-starred restaurants, and street food stalls.
To try your hand at black pudding, you can purchase powdered blood from sausage supply companies, although I prefer to use my local farm and keep their pigs’ blood in the freezer until needed. Whatever you do when you come to stay at my house, stay away from the ice-cream containers in my freezer, containing a raspberry-like sorbet: it’s not ice cream! I have not used diced fat in this pudding, but you can if you like; simply cut pork back fat into small dice and add at the end when your mixture is cooling. I prefer a black pudding like the ones I grew up with. It was one of my favourite meals: black pudding with apple sauce and bread.
250g rolled (porridge) oats, soaked in milk overnight, drained
100g pinhead oatmeal (steel-cut oats), soaked in milk overnight, drained
500ml pig’s blood (thawed, if frozen)
2 egg yolks
1 small leek, thinly sliced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground ginger
3 cloves, ground
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp chopped savory
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
Sausage casing, soaked in salted water overnight (or as instructed on the pack)
Butter, for frying
Put the drained oats into a large saucepan. Pour in the blood, then add the egg yolks, leek, lard and spices. Now bring the mixture to a boil and add the herbs and salt. Allow to cool.
Place the sausage casing over a funnel with a wide opening. You can tie the casing around the funnel if you like. I make a homemade funnel from the top of a plastic bottle; this works best to keep the sausage casing in place.
Scoop the pudding batter into a piping (icing) bag with a large plain nozzle roughly the same size as the funnel opening. Put the piping bag inside the funnel and start squeezing out the pudding mixture. It is quite runny so it will go down easily.
Help the mixture along the casing by squeezing slightly with wet hands to force it down. Don’t make the puddings too long: it is better to stop in time than to have filled an entire sausage only to have a hole in the middle where the mixture all pours out and makes a mess.
Make links by pushing the mixture down gently and tying a piece of kitchen string around the casing to fasten it off. Then tie another piece of string beside the first and cut between the two so you have separate sausages. Alternatively, tie the sausage casing in a knot.
Heat a large saucepan of water to just under boiling point (80C) and place the puddings in the water. Gently simmer for 30-40 mins, then remove them from the water and allow them to cool.
Fry the puddings whole in butter, as these black puddings are of the variety that aren’t very compact.
Spread black pudding on a slice of bread and dip it in freshly made, but cooled, apple sauce.
ALTERNATIVE: Instead of using sausage casing, line a loaf (bar) tin with baking paper, pour in the batter and bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 1 hour.
Recipe & images: Regula Ysewijn