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Black Pudding - All You Need To Know.


What is Black Pudding?

Black Pudding is a type of Blood Sausage. A blood sausage can be described as a sausage filled with blood, cereal or other vegetable matter  which is used to absorb the blood and fat. 

How old is Black Pudding?

The black pudding is probably the most ancient of sausage or puddings. Some would claim this distinction for the haggis but the earliest mention in literature is of something tending more towards black pudding, at least in its filling. Book 18 of Homer's Odyssey, around 1000BC refers to a stomach filled with blood and fat and roasted over a fire.

What is the reason black pudding was invented?

 The reason for the great antiquity of such dishes is clear enough. When a pig is killed it is bled, and a large amount of blood becomes available. This has a very short shelf life so utilising the entrails of the animal as a vessel was a convenient and obvious solution.

What did the original Black Pudding recipe have in it?

The olderst detailed recipe for black pudding, in the compilation attributed to Apicius (material of the first few centuries AD), calls for lengths of intestine rather than a stomach as the container. The recipe is rich and contains no cereal but chopped hard boiled egg yolks, pine kernals, onions and leeks. Common black puddings of the time we pobably made with cereal.

In medieval Europe it was no unusal for relatively poor families to own a pig, which was slaughtered in the autumn. Black Puddings were therefore made everywhere. They always included fat and onions, but not invariably cereal. An english recipe of the 15th century is for a black pudding made with the blood and fat of a porpoise with oatmeal, spiced with pepper and ginger. It was boiled then lightly grilled. This was a dish for the nobles.

What types of black pudding are there and where do they come from??

Black Puddings have remained popular in many European countries and regions. In Britain they are now mainly eaten in the Midlands and the North, often flavoured with Pennyroyal as well as other herbs and spices. The cereal filling is generally oatmeal. Continental European versions have very little or no cereal and rely on chopped onion to absorb the blood.

The blood used is generally but not always pig's blood. The taste is unassertive, like that of liver, so all blood pudding depend on additional flavourings for a particular character.

The French boudon noir is made from pigs blood and fat, chopped onion and cream and is seasoned with salt, pepper and mixed spices. There are many local variations, containing herbs and brandy, apples, spinach. In Auvergne milk is used; in Brittany calf's blood is added to the pig's blood. In the north of France and Belgium, very rich boudins containing large amounts of cream, lard or butter and sometimes eggs are made. 

Boudin noir de Paris also called Boudin noir a l'oignon, is one of the only two boudins on a list of fourteen to contain cooked onion. Boudin a la Flamande has currents and raisins. The term Boudin noir a l'anglaise is used for a black pudding with cereal, which is made in France as well as England.

The Principle French Boudin competition is held every year at Mortagne-au-perche in Normandy, attracting hundreds of entries from all over Europe. The category for boudins made with cereal has several times been won by British entries.

There are several kinds of Spanish black pudding, or morcilla. The most renown comes from Asturia, where it is made from the local black pig and forms part of the regional speciality Fabada, a bean stew with mixed meats. An Andalusian morcilla includes Almonds, pimnetos and parsley. The Italian black pudding, sanguinaccio, is a large type of blood sausage bound in a net.

Germany has some more unusual types of Blutwurst verging on a conventional sausage. The normal, plain type is often smoked. Sweidh blood sausage is made with rye meal and raisins. Hungarian Kishka, ring-shaped and dark in colour, are also made elsewhere in E. europe and in the USA. 

They use ground rice to absorb the blood, contain some meat and are highly seasoned. 

In the USA black puddings are not generally popular but are eaten by some ethnic groups. There is a W. Indian black pudding made with sweet potato or rice and with pumpkin, and spiced with chilli peppers.

All blood puddings are cooked as soon as they are made, abd either eaten at once or allowed to dry. They have a limited keeping time of a few weeks. When required, they may be heated through boiling in water or slashed and grilled, fried in slices, simply sliced and eaten cold or used in various made dishes.