Out with fake candy spiders and spooky cupcakes, and in with the real thing. What could be better for Halloween entertaining than actual, edible blood? Yes, black pudding, a variety of blood sausage made from real pork or beef blood.
Created to make more efficient use of a slaughtered animal, this traditional delicacy is appreciated for its earthy, rich flavors across the world, where it’s also known as black pudding, boudin noir, blutwurst, sanguinaccio or morcilla. In honor of Halloween, here’s some of the more interesting culinary uses of this bloody speciality.
With the “Bleecker Black,” the founders of Bleecker Burger in London have perhaps created a new classic: a burger with fried black pudding between two patties.
Liam O’Keefe, a partner at the restaurant and brand director, says, “My family is from Cork in Ireland, where this black pudding is from. I always thought that it would make a great addition to our double cheeseburger. Now it’s one of our signature burgers. It just takes everything to another level.”
The Clonakilty Black Pudding used by Bleecker Burger is made from beef blood, onions and pinhead oatmeal to a recipe unchanged since 1880. The Bleecker Black pairs well with a lovely Chambolle-Musigny.
Lukas Mraz, chef at cult wine bar Cordobar in Berlin, offers Blutwurst Pizza, which it’s safe to say is not pizza as you know it. Black pudding is used in place of dough as the base, and is topped with feta, beets and wasabi. It’s a creative interpretation of Mraz’s childhood in Vienna.
“I always used to eat black pudding with my granddad,” he says. “In Vienna, we were used to eating offal. But black pudding is also big in Berlin. Some butchers specialize in it, so the quality you get is sensational.”
To pair with the pizza, Mraz suggests a hearty Austrian Blaufränkisch or an off-dry Riesling Kabinett from Mosel or Saar.
“There are many styles of blood sausage in Spain,” says Rafael Mateo, chef/owner of tapas restaurant Pata Negra. “Some are made with rice or onion, or both. Our particular style is more pure, without any fillers, allowing for a more robust blood-sausage flavor.”
His Morcilla y Mongetes entrée consists oven-roasted morcilla (black pudding) served on creamy white Catalan bean stew. For Mateo, it’s just another version of Spanish pork and beans.
“All of our Irish bartenders as well as British, French, Argentinian and Uruguayan clients love it,” he says. “I usually recommend a wine pairing with either amontillado, oloroso or palo cortado Sherries.”
The French have a way with charcuterie, and Paris bistro Le Comptoir de Relais makes most of it. Philippe Camdeborde lives in southwest France and makes restaurant’s boudin noir, while brother Yves works his “bistronomy” concept with numerous pork dishes. His “La Terrine de Boudin Noir” comes from his grandmother’s original recipe. It consists of a caramelized slice of terrine served with a lettuce heart, Granny Smith apple and pepper vinegar. Yves suggests pairing this dish with a glass of Saumur-Champigny.
This watering hole, one of many run by British pub-chain Young’s Brewery, uses black pudding in place of ordinary sausage in making their Scotch eggs. It’s a popular snack at The Britannia, and Sharples maintains it goes down particularly well with Young’s Bitter or Young’s IPA.
If you’ve never had black pudding before, now is the time to try: these dishes show what a versatile and tasty ingredient it is, no matter in what guise.