Well, I made it. I feel like I need a special badge on my apron to prove it.
I can’t say I’ll make it again, but it’s off my list. Phew! I never thought I’d have the constitution to do it, and it did put me off my lunch, but the black pudding lovers I know are now coming out of the woodwork…I’ve had three requests for tastings so far. I’m not sure if I can stomach tasting any myself – I have been known to eat white pudding, but I think black pudding is the end as far as I’m concerned!! So I’ll have to update this later with the feedback from the lucky black pudding recipients.
This recipe took some planning – I had to sweet talk our butcher to get me some pig blood. Then there were the sweetbreads. And the sausage skin. So, all in all, it’s not a recipe that you can run to the supermarket and get all the ingredients for in an afternoon. The recipe author is Robin Wickens, who now owns and runs the Wickens Delicatessed and Provedore in beautiful Apollo Bay, Victoria. I’ll definitely go there next time I’m down that way, but I’m not sure I’ll order the black pudding.
I won’t go into detail about the weird looks I was getting (allegedly) discussing the amount of pigs blood I needed, and the sausage skin discussion – far too rude to go into here! And the discussion that took place at home afterwards when we were discussing the sweetbreads… you can imagine 😉
I needed to give my butcher a weeks notice for the pigs blood, so check with your local butcher. That was after I had enquired about it a month or so ago, and they made some calls. Butchers need to get it in a minimum amount of at least 5 litres apparently, so they may charge you for the whole lot. As it was, my butcher gave me a litre of the stuff even though I only needed 600 grams. They only charged me for what I needed, but I guess that’s a perk of being a regular customer. I also pre-ordered the sweetbreads, and although I’m sure they wouldn’t be as much of as hassle to get as the pig blood, I think it was a wise thing to do. All together at the butcher, including more than a metre of thick sausage skin, I paid the princely sum of $13.
You definitely need a strong stomach to make black pudding. The sultanas and wine vinegar was easy, as were the onions. I set both aside in the same bowl, seasoned them, added the herbs, the oats and and then tipped the whole lot into the cooked pigs blood.
I ordered 350 grams of sweetbreads and if I had known I would have been more generous in my order. The sweetbreads have lots of sinewy and fatty bits attached to them, so I chopped them out and ended up with substantially less than 350 grams. ( I did the chopping out after the blanching) I blanched them in boiling water for a minute (using the basket and the spatula to hold it in the boiling water) and then peeled off the outer membrane – easier said than done. They are slippery little suckers!!
For the un-initiated, sweetbreads look something like this:
Yep, gross. But not as gross as the 600 grams of pig blood I ladled into the thermomix. I had flashbacks of childbirth… it really was pretty gruesome. So, you cook that for 10 minutes, and then add in the onion, sultanas, herbs, seasoning and oatmeal, and the blanched, chopped sweetbreads.
I actually had a moment during the cooking process, as the recipe doesn’t actually say when to add the blanched sweetbreads. As I am one lucky girl, Dani had actually given me her phone number so I texted her with a kitchen emergency question and she got straight back to me… thanks Dani!! I should have chopped mine finer, and I think that’s why I had some issues getting the mixture into the sausage skin later on. Or, if you want to get it finer, you could probably blitz it in the thermomix using the shredding chicken method. I would say I’ll try that next time, but unless I am told that it makes the most amazing black pudding in the history of the world, I won’t be making it again!!!
With all my pre-planning for the ingredients, I actually overlooked one important thing – the piping nozzle. I didn’t have one even close to 2cm, so I used a zip lock bag and snipped the end off. At first, I tried a nozzle that was about 1cm, but I think the sweetbread chunks were too much for the nozzle and it exploded. My kitchen bench was a mess of pig blood mix, so I sincerely hope CSI don’t make a visit to my house in the near future as it will be one confusing crime scene!!
What I should have done was take a photo of the sausage skin. My butcher gave it to me in a container filled with water, and the skins come in lengths of just over a metre. The skin has a firm but flexible insert that’s made of plastic, and in theory that should make your life pretty easy getting the mix in the sausage skin. I’m ashamed to admit that I lost patience and only used about half the mixture and binned the rest, I just couldn’t deal with it any longer! Then I cleaned my kitchen benches to within an inch of their lives, and gave my thermobaby a lovely long vinegar cleanse and put it through the dishwasher for good measure…I was completely creeped out.
But, I did make three sausages, each about 15 centimetres long. I cooked them in the basket, and they are drying out in the fridge as I type, and I’ve given one to my mum to sample. So I’ll let you know what they taste like, and ask my samplers to take pictures of the end, fried up result.
Updated to say: Mum tasted hers and ate it all, but she did say it needed some more seasoning. If I were to make it again, I’d think about more salt and pepper (I’m notorious for under seasoning, preferring to think that people will add extra if they need it), maybe some onion with the sultana reduction, and perhaps some mace.