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In France it’s called “boudin noir” and in Spain it’s called “morcilla” but as far as I’m concerned (an Englishman from the North of England) it will always be black pudding. Traditionally from the North of England it is effectively a mix of onions, pork fat, oatmeal and brought together with pigs blood, a classic example of a product designed to use up every last bit of the animal, something that we don’t do enough of these days.
It’s sad that over the years the product has been trivialized by the “Ecky Thump” image portrayed by The Goodies in the 1970’s and then confined to the gastronomic scrap heap along with tripe and other offal. – OK, so I’m not a massive fan of tripe!
Over recent years, black pudding has encountered something of a renaissance because many top chefs have rediscovered it both as an ingredient and also something to prepare just as it is. Supermarkets have now started to stock it again so maybe it’s going to become something of a British staple again? I love it, so do my family and if you fancy giving it a try then here are my favorite ways to cook it.
Black pudding comes in two basic forms, a stick, wrapped in a plastic skin and a ring or horse-shoe that is in a natural casing like a sausage.
The stick is most commonly seen on the breakfast plate and it’s very simple to cook as part of the great traditional English breakfast. Slice the stick into ½ inch slices, remove the plastic skin and grill or fry for about 5 or 10 minutes on each side. You’ll know when it’s done because the surface will have turned from a slightly brown color to a deep black and texture wise it will be slightly crispy.
That’s all there is to it if you’re going to serve it on the breakfast plate although baked beans to complement are perfect, as is a nice runny egg yolk. If however you’re going to have it as an appetizer then the rule is ensure that you serve it with something sweet. Caramelized onions go well, as does caramelized apple, I’ve also tried honey and chili but to be fair you can even get away with a simple home-made tomato ketchup.
The ring again is a simple cooking process but fewer people are familiar with it. You don’t remove the skin, just pop it into simmering water (just below 100ºC) and allow the ring to warm through for about 10 minutes.
You need to make sure that you have a pan that’s about double the size of the black pudding ring because as the sausage warms through it will expand quite a lot and that’s a good test for when it’s cooked. Look also for the color of the skin to have turned more of a grey than black.
Serving a boiled black pudding for me is to slit the skin and peel it back leaving the inner contents looking like a large black sausage on your plate. Again, I like to serve with baked beans but try drizzling a little white wine vinegar on the black pudding – yum!
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write by Peterson