Perhaps one of the oldest forms of sausage there is, black pudding (boudin noir in French) is also one of the most richly delicious sausages to be found. It is as deeply satisfying as any dish you could imagine, especially when served with a healthy dollop of spiced apple purée, or sliced, fried apples if you’re feeling more refined. Add in some creamy mashed potatoes, and you have a plate that can’t fail to win hearts, minds and souls. But this dark, dense, beautifully textured sausage is much more versatile than that too.
That said, there are plenty of black pudding sceptics out there; those who feel a little squeamish about its primary ingredient, which is pig’s blood. It is hard to offer comfort to this, other than a simple suggestion to try it because for those who do, the result is usually devotion. Black pudding is insanely, exquisitely delicious, thanks in large part to all the parts that also make it so healthy.
Black pudding is high in protein, which will help to keep you feeling full for longer, and it is also rich in iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, important health, immunity and bone-density boosters. They can be a little high in fat, but they can still be enjoyed in healthy ways, especially if you have the English or Irish version which tends to be denser than the French boudin noir, making them perfect for grilling and tossing into a leaf-rich salad with plenty of cherry tomatoes, slices of red onion and apples, and some chopped walnuts. If you’re feeling a touch decadent, add some grilled bacon and a poached egg for a breakfast salad “de résistance”. Serve with a light mustard and cider vinegar dressing.
If you happen to be in Europe between May and August, then the River Cottage in London proposes an intriguing recipe of Black Pudding with Gooseberries on Toast. For this, mix 200g of gooseberries in 3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, a neutral oil and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley for about 20 minutes. Next, grill thick slices of black pudding and pile them on to slices of buttered toast, then top with the gooseberry mix and a little seasoning for a sweet-sour balance to the richness of the puddings.
Boudin noir, as you will find in the delicatessen at Khéma, tends to be smoother and less dense thanks to the addition of cream and onions in place of oats or barley, and wouldn’t work so well in the first of these recipes.
However, you can never go wrong matching a good boudin noir with slices of fried sweet apple. In this recipe from the New York Times, you fry the slices of boudin in butter for a few minutes on each side so that they are well cooked, then remove from the pan and keep warm. Next, deglaze the pan with about 80ml of Calvados, let it boil down for about 30 seconds, then add the slices of apple and cook for a minute. Not add 200ml of cream and a pinch of nutmeg, and allow the cream to reduce by half. Season and serve. Enjoy.