Black Pudding | The Product
Black Pudding is essentially a type of Blood Sausage, of which, there are many varieties. Here we will take a look at those varieties and how they differ from our traditional Black Pudding.
Traditional Black Pudding
The Core Ingredients of Black Pudding
The traditional Black Pudding recipe basically consists of a blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, spice flavourings and pig’s blood. The actual mix of these ingredients in the branded Black Pudding will vary by producer. The pork fat is sometimes substituted by beef suet, the oatmeal sometimes replaced with barley, the pig’s blood with beef blood or a dried substitute and the spice mix is, more often than not, unique to the producer having been handed down the generations. The herb pennyroyal, part of the mint family, was traditionally used in the making of Black Pudding however these days it is more commonly associated with herbal remedies.
There are many brands producing a ‘traditional’ black pudding and it is traditional in the fact it follows a recipe that was first used, in some cases, in the 19th century. If you compare the recipe for the Bury Black Pudding (England), Stornoway Black Pudding (Scotland) and Clonakilty Black Pudding (Irish), they are quite different given the relatively few number of ingredients required to make it!
How it’s made…
We will look into the different methods employed in the large scale production of Black Pudding later, but for now, well just cover the basics of making the traditional version. As there are only a few ingredients, it is actually relatively easy to make [we haven’t tried it ourselves as proof – yet!]. Take a look at the River Cottage clip (below) to see just how easy it is.
Six Simple Steps:
- Strain the pig’s blood to remove any clots
- Add your pork fat and onions
- Add your cereal e.g. pinned oats
- Add your seasonings
- Combine until mixed well then fill your ‘sausage’ casing
- Boil or steam until cooked
The most difficult part? Pig’s blood and even dried blood is not exactly found on the supermarket shelves! There are health regulations covering the purchase of raw animal blood and prohibiting it’s transportation which we will cover in a post at a later date. Obviously production of Black Pudding for the mass market is a little more complex but the general principle is the same.
Black Pudding | Hugh & Ray Source: YouTube via River Cottage | All copyrights belong to the respective owners under License: Standard YouTube License
(Including Boudin Noir, Morcilla, Morcela)
The Core Ingredients of Blood Sausage
Blood Sausage is the more generic ‘global’ term for what we call Black Pudding. In our Around the World section, we will go into more detail about the specific regional differences of Blood Sausage.
As a general overview, it will come as no great surprise that of course the main ingredient of Blood Sausage is animal blood. We say animal because of the many variations around the world due the cultural and religious influences of the specific country or region. Sheep, goat, chicken and duck are often used. We have even discovered variations using fish!
Similar ‘dry’ core ingredients are used to act as the filler or binding in the mix before being encased in a ‘skin’. Whereas cereal products such as oatmeal and barley are the norm in the UK, it is rice (also a cereal grain), fruit and nuts that form the basis of the dry ingredients in many forms of Blood Sausage. Apple is commonly used as either a filler ingredient or accompaniment, raisins, pine nuts and dried fruits being other popular fillers. Some countries swap out the fat content for potato for, in theory, a healthier pudding.
There is also quite a variation in the use of herbs and spices used, again, at a regional level.
How To Make Blood Sausage – Boudin Noir
Boudin Noir is the French Black Pudding (or Blood Sausage) and an extremely popular choice in the country’s charcuteries, a delicatessen-style shop specialising in prepared meat products. As you can see below, the method for making Boudin Noir is much the same as the Traditional Black Pudding;
How To Make Blood Sausage – Boudin Noir Source: YouTube via Worldwide Culinary Apprentice | All copyrights belong to the respective owners under License: Standard YouTube License
Many people are put off Black Pudding by nature of it’s blood content, some are deterred by the perceived fat content and to be fair some people just don’t like it! We have vegetarians and vegans, who for obvious reasons will not eat it and those who suffer with a gluten intolerance, which given the oat or barley content of Black Pudding, who cannot eat it. So are there any alternatives for those requiring a substitute to use in a recipe containing Black Pudding? Well the answer is, Of course!
White Pudding is very similar in nature to Black, the main difference being the omission of blood. It consists of pork meat and fat, suet, bread and oatmeal and is generally formed into a large sausage. It is very popular in Ireland and Scotland, where it is also called Mealy (or Mealie) Pudding. As with Black Pudding, there are variations in the mix and type of ingredients, alternate meat / fat content, onion is added, and the range of spices used will be specific to the producer. In South-West England, a variation called Hogg’s Pudding is produced using the spices black pepper, cumin, basil and garlic.
You would not think this could could be an option given the [high volume] core ingredients of Black Pudding, but when a solution is required for the modern food market, one is found. The vegetarian options are still few and far between but they do exist. The core ingredients are the grains; pearl barley, rolled oats and oatmeal, combined with onions, whey and soya protein, herbs and spices. Also added is beetroot powder to give it colour and additional flavour.
The production process is similar in that once the ingredients are combined they are packed into a [synthetic] casing and steamed until cooked.
Gluten free puddings are becoming more popular as those suffering from Celiac Disease, a reaction to one part of the gluten protein, is on the rise. The puddings are similar in that they still contain the fat and [dried] blood elements but the normal cereal elements are replaced. Rice, normally gluten free, is used as a substitute or oatmeal in it’s pure form.
How do they compare?
This is very much a question of personal taste. White Pudding, yes, certainly recommended as a substitute or even an addition to the dish or plate of food you are preparing. We’ve not sampled the vegetarian or gluten free puddings so cannot comment. Until such point as we try them, and we will, this is a great opportunity to hear from you so you can share your opinion as to how they compare, or not, as you could perceive them as being different products altogether. We look forward to hearing from you!