Friday, December 1, 2017


Obviously, once you find a source to buy blood, you’re going to buy blood.  And then you’re going to find something to do with it.  The mind reels at various sacred and profane possibilities but I decided to make blood sausage: black pudding, boudin noir, possibly even morcella.

I looked an online for a good recipe.  This wasn’t as easy as I hoped.  Of course I knew that pork fat is involved, and I had some pork fat in the freezer.  But quite a few of the recipes used a pork shoulder, in which case it sees to me you’re just making a pork sausage with a bit of blood in it.  And I happened to have some Atora beef suet in the cupboard, which may be only borderline legal in the USA.  I also, as it happened to have both pork and beef blood.

Other recipes required large quantities of groats – often barley, and I’m not a huge fan of barley.  I was prepared to use oatmeal but I didn’t want to go further than that.  But I thought having some liver in there might be no bad thing. Pretty much all the recipes, and this did surprise me, involved allspice

As regular readers know I’m constitutionally incapable of following a recipe but I did find this one on  And yes, I did use beef blood rather than pork. 

I wasn’t absolutely sure what the target audience was – the kind of cook who needs to be told what mincing is, evidently.  And as for a shortage of blood and casing - well, you've just got to try a bit harder.  
 It's described as for “Black Pudding (Irish)” and incidentally it appears on the Facebook page for Irvington Farmers Market, identical but unattributed and it’s lost its Irish designated.  

Since I was looking for inspiration rather than precise instructions, I didn’t follow the quantities or the proportions and I definitely didn’t steam for 4 or 5 hours.  I found a rival recipe that suggested 20 minutes – so I followed that instead, obviously.

Came out looking pretty decent.

And even more decent once the sausages had been steamed.   

Do you want a bit of Irish in you?

And how did they cook up?  And how did they taste?
Well, I was a bit worried that they might burst open during cooking but no, these are obviously strong, though yielding, sausage skins.  They kept their structural integrity very nicely.

And they tasted really remarkably, perhaps surprisingly, authentic; quite rich but quite subtle.  They could have used more salt and certainly more fat, but as a first effort, there was no reason for complaint.

I remember when I used to go out for curries with the lads in Sheffield, one of our number would say after a good meal, “You couldn’t fault it.”  This was high praise indeed, an indication that you certainly would fault it if you possibly could, but try as you might you just couldn’t.  Not sure I, or my sausages, could quite live up to that standard.

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