Exactly within the no-waste trend, the boudin noir or blood sausage stands out in the meat-eater crowd favorites. Cheap and filling, yet delicious, blood sausage sees its popularity on the rise again throughout Europe, spreading over oceans to reach the most famous dining tables.
Humble Beginnings of Blood Sausage
One of the most ancient charcuterie, boudin noir mixes the most humble parts of the pig to create the richest and most flavorful sausage. Made with pork blood, grease, and condiments, the blood sausage sometimes contains goat or sheep blood, depending on the recipes. It was invented during the Antiquity by a Greek cook named Aphtonite. Blood sausage appeared for the first time in the “De re coquinaria” from Apicius, a Roman recipe book in Latin dating from the end of IV Century. During the Middle-Age, only taverns and inns would serve black pudding. Traditionally, the blood sausage was prepared when a pig was slaughtered. Nothing should be wasted. Nowadays, blood pudding is eaten on many occasions.
The Making and Cooking of Black Pudding
- The preparation is simple: pig’s blood, pork grease, and onions are mixed together with spices, condiments, wine, chestnuts, and chard, eachdepending on the country or region. Blood serves as a spectacular food binder, much like egg whites, giving the sausage its smooth texture.
- The sausage mixture is then stuffed into pig’s intestines by hand.
- Finally, the sausage is boiled in hot water until no blood runs out.
- Usually pan-fried or poached, it can also be grilled.
- Served over a homemade potato purée, it is bold and big.
- The delicate sweetness of cut cooked apples works well with the earthy and intense flavor of the blood sausage.
A World’s Panorama of Blood Sausage
Blood is a readily available ingredient everywhere. That explains why the black sausage has been popular in so many countries. Many variations can be found around the world.
- In Portugal, Spain, and most Latin American countries, blood sausage is called morcilla, and is usually served at a barbecue or in a sandwich.
- In Italy, it is named sanguinaccio.
- Blood sausage is known as mazzita in Malta.
- Go to Louisiana or France to savour the delightful boudin noir. It is so rooted in French culture that more than 16 recipes exist, almost one for each region. A Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage organizes a yearly competition for the world’s best boudin. In the French Antilles, taste the mini boudin, spicy and so flavorful.
- Germans call it blutwurst.
- In the UK and Ireland, blood or black pudding is served at breakfast.
- A traditional Christmas dish in Estonia, verivorstid is made mostly with blood and barley.
- In Poland, it takes the name of kiszka, and is cooked with onions, served with rye bread, horseradish, and pickles.
- In Kenya, mutura can be referred to as African sausage. Served chopped in a roll with kachumbari, a diced tomato, and onion salsa, it has become a favorite street food.
- Order a soondae in South Korea and you will get a sausage, not an ice cream dish. A night market delicacy, it can be steamed and sliced or boiled in a soup with cabbage and other vegetables.
Tips for Eating the Blood Sausage:
- Don’t pick the blood sausage with a fork, but with a needle instead. It won’t split in half during cooking.
- Keep some mini boudin in your fridge. They are delicious as an appetizer.
- Diced and mashed up, use the blood sausage in a parmentier for a last minute meal your kids will love.
- Boudin blanc doesn’t have an ounce of blood but is prepared with white meat, grease, and eggs, milk or another binder. Plain delicious with cooked apples or a fig chutney.
Healthy or not healthy? That is a good question and the answer lies within the preparation of the blood sausage. A rich source of iron and protein, the black sausage also contains a lot of fat and is considered a processed food. Make sure you buy it from a trusted butcher and don’t overeat it. The key to get more people to appreciate it might reside in its name. Just don’t mention the word ‘blood’ and your guests or family may just find it intense and surprisingly delightful, just like these children in this video.
Have you tried blood sausage? What is your favorite way of eating it?