Black Pudding

Finished black pudding. Ready for frying.

It all started so well.

I was idly browsing the internet, looking for new ingredients to try out. How then did it end at 2am on a Wednesday morning standing covered in blood, in a kitchen that looked like something out of CSI?

I’ve always really liked black pudding. I can appreciate that it’s not to everyone’s taste but for me, the combination of blood, fat and cereals is a heavenly one. I’d never really thought about making my own though. Never that is, until a combination of finding dried blood for sale and a friend lending me the River Cottage Cook Book led me down a dangerous path.

One fateful Tuesday evening, I thought, “Oh I don’t have much on tonight. I’ll make some black pudding. How hard can it be…” Skip forward 6 hours to me standing in my kitchen, tired, grumpy and looking like an extra from an early Peter Jackson film. Should you wish to join me on this particular (mis)adventure with the pig, the recipe follows.

Ingredients.

Jon’s British style Black Pudding
150g dried pigs blood
1 ltr water
25g salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250g oatmeal soaked overnight
250g pearl barley, boiled until tender
500g pork back fat, derinded and cubed
500g onions, finely chopped
250 ml double cream
1g mace
1g ground coriander
1g cayenne pepper.
Hog casings – more than you think…. (maybe about 15 feet)

First soak your casings in the usual way.

Pork fat and onions. Cooking gently.

Next, take a handful of your back fat (perhaps 100g) and gently heat until it starts to render liquid. When a tablespoon or so of fat has run, add the onions and the rest of the back fat and cook over a low heat until the onions are soft and the fat has started to become translucent. You might want to cover the pan to encourage cooking.

In the meantime, slowly combine your dried pigs blood with the water to hydrate it.  You might need to beat it together for a while to ensure that you remove any lumps.

Keep stirring, adding your salt, pepper and spices until your blood mix is thoroughly combined.

Blood and spice. The kitchen is still clean at this point.

Take your soaked casings and cut into lengths depending on how long you want your puddings. I cut mine into pieces about 45 cm long which made roughly 30cm puddings. Tie your skins at one end, making sure the knot is secure. You don’t want them coming undone when you’re trying to fill them.

Take your oatmeal and cream and add it to the fat and onions before continuing to cook over a low heat for a minute or two.

Up until now it’s been a fairly clean task. This is where it starts to get messy…

Adding blood to the cream, fat, and oatmeal. Still fairly clean....

Take your pan off the heat and slowly pour in your seasoned blood, continuing to stir until it’s all combined. Add your oatmeal, stirring continuously to stop the fat and cereals sinking to the bottom. Put an apron on. You will spill some.

Set a large pan of water over a gentle heat and keep it at a gentle simmer.

Take your sausage casings and slide them over your medium sausage stuffing tube or a funnel. Now using a ladle, slowly start to fill your casings until you have a thick sausage. You will want something like a chopstick or skewer to push through any bits of fat or cereal that get stuck.

Poking fat through a funnel

Slide your skin off the funnel when you’re about 5-7cm off the open end of the skin and tie securely. This is quite tricky as your hands, your casings, and most of your kitchen are liable to be covered with blood at this stage. I can see why commercial producers use metal ties to seal them.

Filling puddings. Not having fun any more...

Repeat this until you have filled all your casings. The puddings will still be quite liquid at this stage. Lower the puddings into your pan of barely simmering water and cook for 20 minutes or so making sure the water doesn’t boil too fiercely. If your puddings swell up, prick them with a pin to ensure they don’t explode. No one wants to be showered with exploding pudding.

The horror. The horror.

After 20 minutes, remove your puddings from the simmering and drop them in a bowl of iced water for a couple of minutes. your puddings are now ready to eat or slice and fry.

Fried black pudding, rye bread, cornichons. Good times.

You can serve these as a quick supper with bread, salad, and fried apple slices or as part of a classic hangover cure fry up.  They are also good used to stuff a pork loin or mashed with potatoes as an accompaniment to sausages.

Next time I do them, (if the girlfriend will allow me back in the kitchen!) I think I will add more oatmeal to make them firmer. I’ll also try using larger artificial casings to make wider, more traditional puddings.

Only make as many as you will eat in a few days or slice and freeze them. The smell of gone off black pudding is the smell of undiluted evil as I discovered to my cost on my return from a weekend away.

Advertisements

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