Friday, December 30, 2011

Blood Pudding

Do not let the name of this ancient, and renowned piece of charcuterie put you off. It is a pudding made of blood. More precisely, it is a sausage made of blood, beef fat and oatmeal. To be exact, it is a sausage made of blood that is forced into a casing made from “guts.”

If the thought of eating a sausage made of blood turns you queasy, consider what goes into your regular hotlinks, bangers, and bratwurst and hotdogs. Meat, you say.

Well, “meat” is a flexible word. While it does not include fat, skin, connective tissue, lips, ears, asses, udders, and the like, it does stretch to include organs, brains, tongues, cheeks, tails, trotters etc. Non “meat” additives such as rusk (a dried bread), water, sugar, dextrose, monosodium glutamate, herbs, spices and cochineal all bulk up the sausage and help it look pink, stay fresh, retain moisture, brown nicely and taste good. The casing is either made from lamb intestines or cellulose wrapper. But the better part of your average supermarket sausage is made out of something called “MRM,” or mechanically recovered meat. Wha? you say.

MRM is a pulp produced in abattoirs using high-powered water jets to strip a carcass of every last remaining shred of flesh after the butchering for recognizable cuts has been done.

If this puts you off, then you might also want to avoid chicken nuggets. We’ll save that for another time.

Blood pudding is also known as boudin noir, black pudding, because the congealed mixture is very dark. Big slices are fried and served traditionally with one of the glories of European cooking, the “Full English.” This is a breakfast consisting of fried eggs, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried bread, and sometimes, baked beans. The trick is to use only one pan, and to start with the greasiest item first, so that its rendered fat can be used to fry all the remaining ingredients, ending with the eggs.

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