White Pudding

White pudding, homemade bread, salad. Wonderful.

White pudding is a breakfast sausage made of pork, oatmeal and spices and is popular across Scotland, Ireland and the north of England. My personal favourite comes from the Barrowin Furness  fishmongers in Borough Market who make little individual puddings for frying. What I didn’t realise until reading the excellent sausagemaking.org forum was how easy they are to make. When I read johnfb’s recipe (who also advised on forming the sausages in cling film) I knew I had to have a go at it myself. I made a couple of tweaks to John’s original recipe both for personal taste and to try and match it more with the Borough Market puddings. After all, what can’t be improved by adding bacon?

The results are fantastic. Sliced and fried, the pudding makes a good friend to bacon and eggs on the breakfast plate or just mashed on toast like pate. The recipe is below.

Preparing the pudding mixture

Jon’s White Pudding
600g pork cubed and chilled
375g oatmeal soaked in a roughly similar amount of water
50g leek chopped
50g bacon (I used this) chopped
10g salt
5g celery salt
20g  cornflour
2 1/2g white pepper
2 1/2g ground coriander
2 1/2g ginger
2 1/2g sage
2 1/2g MSG
1 1/2g mace
1 1/2g nutmeg
1g allspice

First take your oatmeal and soak it in water for a few minutes. I left mine for twenty simply because that was how long it took me to weigh out the spices and cube and chill the meat.

The next step is to combine everything except the bacon in a large mixing bowl and stir until it’s all thoroughly mixed. Oatmeal may well be the stickiest substance known to man so be careful to ensure that it doesn’t drag you down into the bowl like some kind of porridgy kraken.

Pork, Oatmeal, Leek, Spices

The ingredients ready for mincing.

Slowly feed the mixture through your mincer, making sure that its fitted with the smallest mincing plate you have. Keep feeding the mixture through until all of your ingredients are minced before returning to your mixing bowl, adding the chopped bacon and giving it a final stir. Don’t worry if it looks a bit weird. Pork and porridge are not the most visually appealing bedfellows. Fortunately it tastes amazing!

White Pudding Mixture

Mixed oatmeal and pork. Looking slightly evil

Now you have your white pudding mix made up, the next step is turn it into sausages. You can stuff it into hog casings (in which case prepare and stuff them in the usual way) or do as I did and form them into skinless sausages by wrapping them in cling film.

The process for this is quite simple. People who have rolled their own should have no problem with it. Take a large square of clingfilm and put a few spoonfuls of your pudding mixture in the centre. Fold the clingfilm over and press it down to make a patty. Roll your patty back and forth until you have a decent sausage shape then twist off the ends. Keep twisting until both ends are really tight to force the meat down into a more compact pudding. Make sure the sausage is tightly sealed to prevent any mixture leaking out when you’re poaching the sausages.

Repeat this with the remaining mixture until you have several fully formed white puddings ready to poach. The recipe above left me with four big puddings but that’ll vary depending on how large your sausages are.

White Pudding wrapped in cling film to make a sausage

A white pudding skinless sausage

It’s probably a good idea to rest your pudding for a while before you poach them. I left mine for twenty four hours in the fridge to let the flavours develop.

When you’re ready to poach your puddings set a large covered pan of water on the stove and bring it to a gentle simmer. Poach your puddings for twenty to thirty minutes depending on their size then lift them out of the water and leave to cool.

Poaching white pudding for 2- mins in simmering water

Poaching the puddings

Your puddings are now ready to fry as part of an excellent breakfast or spread on toast with a caper and onion salad.

I wanted a bit of variety in the flavour of the puddings and as I’ve just built myself a cold smoker in my friend’s garden, these seemed like an ideal candidate for the inaugural run. I don’t want to write too much about the smoking process as I’m going to cover it in more detail in its own post but I left two puddings unsmoked, smoked one for four hours, and one for eight. You can see the last one in the smoke box (with other treats) below.

Cold smoking. White pudding on the left.

The puddings were then sliced and frozen but not before frying up a plate of them to try them. They’re all fabulous! Rich, creamy and intensely savoury. The pork adds a deeper level of flavour to them but to be honest, smoked or unsmoked, they’re both bloody tasty!


Finished puddings. Heavily smoked at the front, lightly smoked in the middle, unsmoked at the back

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Smoky Mexican-Style Sausages

For my second post I wanted to make a completely different type of sausage to last time and one that you can’t easily find in the shops. I wanted to make something that had a smoky and rounded sweet and sour flavour and a subtle heat. Something between the sausages you can buy from the South American butchers in Brixton market and the Mexican chorizo recipe in Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s excellent book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.

I also wanted to play with some new ingredients I hadn’t used before, namely recado de achiote and hickory powder.

Recado de achiote is a deeply savoury spice blend of ground annatto seeds, cumin, allspice, garlic and salt and pepper normally used for marinades and spice rubs. It gives food a spicy earthiness and a deep red colour. It’s not the most common ingredient but the folk at the Cool Chile Co were very helpful in sorting some out for me.

Hickory smoke powder is used to give food a deep smoky flavour for those of us not blessed with our own home smokers. Hickory powder is SUPER concentrated, so I’ve given a specific measurement for this.This equates to about a 1/3tsps worth but its worth picking up some cheap microscales to get things right, particularly if you want to get into curing food as you’ll be working with potentially harmful chemicals and you don’t want to overdo them.  You can pick these up easily enough online or at your local dodgy newsagent or ‘head’ shop. I can’t possibly imagine what other use they could have though….

Weighing smoke powder

Smoky Mexican style sausages -1st attempt.

600g pork shoulder, cubed
120g back fat, cubed
100g breadcrumbs
1&1/2tsp recardo de achiote powder
1tsp ancho chilli powder (I used flaked anchos because I happened to have some in but I would have preferred powder)
1tsp chipotle chilli powder
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp dextrose
2&1/2tsp table salt
1/2g hickory smoke powder
125ml white wine vinegar
Water, as needed
Hog casings

Smoke Powder, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Recado De Achiote, Ancho Flakes, Chipotle Chilli Powder, White Wine Vinegar, Salt, Breadcrumbs

Mexican sausage ingredients

Firstly, prepare your hog casings in the usual way. If you don’t know what the usual way is then have a read of the blog post below. That expains it in more detail. Make sure your pork and fat is properly chilled (I stick mine in the freezer in the bowl I’m going to mince into for 45 minutes before starting, chilling both the meat and the bowl) before feeding it through your mincer. I used the standard 4.5mm plate for this one because I wanted a slightly smoother banger than last time.

Mincing....standard

Next step is to get all your seasonings together and combined with the meat. The combination of white wine vinegar and dextrose is what gives these sausages their sweet and sour flavour. Dextrose powder is basically a refined simple sugar that is absorbed more easily than standard sugar. As a result, it helps the sausages brown more uniformly.

Spices. Recado de achiote and ancho chillis in the foreground.

Take all of your dry ingredients and combine them with the minced meat and breadcrumbs. Slowly add your vinegar whilst mixing your sausage meat. You might need to add some additional water to aid your mixing. When everything is sufficiently combined set aside and leave to chill until you’re ready to use it. You should fry a little bit of it now and check you’re happy with the level of seasoning. I added some more paprika and achiote powder at this point when I made them (and have adjusted the recipe above accordingly).
In the meantime, flush your hog casings and slide them onto your medium stuffing tube then fit the tube onto your mixer. Striking a pose is optional.
Fitting the stuffing tube onto the mincer.

Agent 00-Pork

 Get your sausagemeat out of the fridge and slowly feed it through your stuffer. When it reaches the end of your stuffing tube, pull the skins forward and tie them off. Slowly feed the meat into the skins, ensuring that your sausages are a uniform size. Keep going until you have fed all the sausage meat through the mincer. If you want to push the last of the sausagemeat through then you can push it through the mincer with a bit of bread. When you start to see bread in the tube take the skins off the stuffer and tie off. Now simply twist these into links and leave to rest for 24 hours and there you have it: spicy, smoky Mexican style sausages.
These are great hot but I prefer to grill them and then serve them cold on a tortilla with salad, avocado, cheese and chilli sauce. The lunch of champions!

A recipe for homemade ‘Toulouse’ Sausages

This is the first post for my brand new blog.  I’ve always been a man who likes good eating and recently, in a moment of drunken enthusiasm, I bought a mincer and some sausage casings and took the first steps down the road to porcine enlightenment.

I’ve been messing around with making sausages and have come up with some pretty good recipes. (I’ll cover jerk pork sausages in a future post!)  so I thought it was about time to put fingers to keyboard and document some of them.

I wanted to have a go at making Toulouse sausages as they’ve always been a favourite of mine. However, it seems that my definition of Toulouse sausages is different to the rest of the world’s.

Toulouse sausages to me usually contain red wine, thyme, garlic, and bacon (something like this) but I couldn’t find a recipe for this ANYWHERE! I even asked here but it seems that the rest of the world understands Toulouse as garlic, nutmeg and sugar (something like this) which is great but not what I was looking for on this occasion.

In the end, I decided to work on instinct for these and so whilst they may not be strictly authentic they are what I think of as a ‘Toulouse’ sausage and, more importantly, they’re bloody good!

Jon’s ‘Toulouse’ Sausages.  – 1st attempt

Ingredients for homemade toulouse sausages

Pork, Bacon, Thyme, Nutmeg, Garlic. Wine, Back Fat and Breadcrumbs not in shot.

600g pork shoulder, chopped
100g pork back fat
100g smoked bacon (I used chopped back bacon as I couldn’t find any British lardons)
100g breadcrumbs
½ head garlic (about six cloves)
125ml red wine
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp  ground nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 tsps table salt
Hog casings

First things first. Get preparing your hog casings. I used about five feet for this lot which seemed about right. If you’re using casings packed in salt then soak them in water for a couple of hours.

Next get your pork shoulder and back fat and cut it into cubes small enough to fit through your mixer. It’ll mince more easily if its really cold so stick it in the freezer for a bit.

Whilst that’s chilling you can finely chop your garlic and bacon and measure out the rest of your ingredients. (grate nutmeg, grind pepper, de-stalk thyme etc – try and use fresh if you can. It’ll taste better!)

Set up your mincer and make sure its got a coarse grinding plate fitted (I used 8mm; I might try 10mm next time). Slowly feed your chilled meat and back fat through. If the meat is too warm it’ll be hard to mince and end up like paste.

Pork shoulder being minced

Coarse mincing - snigger...

Once you’ve minced your meat and fat combine it in a large mixing bowl with bacon, garlic and all the other dry ingredients and mix well, slowly adding the red wine.

Toulouse sausage recipe

Pork, bacon, garlic and spices.

You can do this with a food processor but for small batches I prefer the hands on approach. Getting your hands in allows you to really feel when the mixture is ready; after a few minutes mixing the fats should start to break down and really allow the meat to stick together – similar to kneading bread.

At this point you should probably fry a little bit of your mixture and check that it’s seasoned to your liking. You might want to add a bit more salt, thyme, or garlic etc. It’s worth noting that the flavours will develop when you let the finished sausages rest.

If there’s any wine left over you should probably pour yourself a glass.  You’re on the home straight and you deserve it.

Return your meat mixture to the fridge and turn your attention to the hog casings. Drain them. By now they should be pretty free of salt but it’s sensible to flush them and make sure. Find one end and pour in some water; moving the casing will allow the water to flow right through easily.

Now thread your casings onto a medium sized stuffing tube. Feel free to make juvenile jokes when you’re doing it and suffice to say, it’s an action that a lot of people will be familiar with…

threading sausage casings onto a stuffing tube

Caption competition

Fit your tube onto your mincer/stuffer and slowly start feeding your meat mixture through. When your mixture is at the end tie a knot in your casings and slowly start feeding your mixture into the casing. Doing it this way means that you don’t end up with loads of air in your casing. If you do get some air in there, don’t worry. Just prick the casing gently with a pin.

Keep slowly feeding the meat into the casing, ensuring that you have an even distribution of meat throughout the sausage. Keeping one hand on the casing will help with that. Previously I’ve been linking the casings into individual sausages as they’ve come out the stuffer but for this one I decided to make one long sausage and link them later hopefully making the sausages a more uniform size.

Making sausages

Serious sausage work

Keep feeding the sausages into a coil until you have fed all the meat through and a coil of sausage in front of you. You can run a bit of stale bread through the mincer to push the last of the pork out. Remove and tie off the other end of the casing, leaving you with one long Toulouse style sausage. You can either leave this as is or make it into links.

Unlinked sausage

The heavyweight sausage champion of the world

This was my first attempt at linking a long sausage but it seems the sensible way to do it as it allows you to make very evenly sized bangers.  Grab the sausage and gently squeeze it where you want your first sausage to be, pushing the meat back into the sausages. Give the sausages four or five twists in one direction to make two links. Repeat along the sausage, alternating direction of your twists to make a string of sausages. Be careful not to burst the skins when you’re doing this. If you do (I did!) simply twist the link again and carry on past the split.

Linking the sausages

Making links.

Once you’re done you should be left with a delicious pile of homemade quality ‘Toulouse’ style sausages. Leave them covered in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavours relax and enjoy.

I certainly did!

The finished homemade toulouse sausages

Proud parent.