Friday, June 15, 2012

Hearty winter delights 1: boudin(black pudding)

It's really winter now, with frosty mornings, sharply bright or grimly grey raw days, and thermometer-plunging nights. A time of crackling fires, duck down duvets, and hearty rib-sticker dishes coming out the wood stove. This is the occasion for an occasional series on just such dishes, starting today with one of my favourite things: boudin, or black pudding.
Boudin is a French classic, found in just about every part of that 'cochonaille', pork-loving country. In Normandy, you might have it grilled, with apples; in Alsace, with sauerkraut; in Paris, with mustard and chips; in the South, with lentils. Every butcher in France has his own recipe for making this tasty sausage of pig's blood and herbs; everyone has their favourite way of serving it. Of course it's not just in France where boudin is found; under the name of black pudding, it's a favourite in the British Isles and Ireland, in Germany it's a big hit too, under the name of blutwurst, or blood sausage, in eastern Europe, it is found on many tables. British-type black pudding is often firmer than the Continental European ones, as they add cereals to the mix, but the recipes are by and large fairly similar, with the addition of specific herbs, spices, etc. Pretty much everywhere that has the culture of the pig, going down from Celtic times, you'll find boudin.
Despite the British tradition of Australia, black pudding isn't commonly found here. In the cities, you can find it more easily, but in our region, it can be hard to track down, as the butchers don't seem to make it any more and you have to hunt for even mass-produced varieties. The ones I've found here and liked are the Castlemaine brand black pudding, from Victoria(British variety), which you can occasionally get in Coles, and isn't bad, and a German-inspired blutwurst from Gotzinger smallgoods which I found in Woolies recently, and which is quite delicious.
Boudin is good fried, roasted or grilled, depending on what you feel like at the time. Last night, we had it pan-fried, but with only a smidgin of oil in a non-stick pan), and teamed it with home-grown sweet and sour red cabbage(cooked in a little wine, vinegar and brown sugar), home-grown spuds, just boiled with a little butter(mash is great with boudin too), a green salad on the side, and a glass of home-made perry(pear cider.) Totally rib-sticky, totally satisfying!

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