Black pudding is a sausage made from grains, fat, spices, and of course, blood, it is also one of the highest iron-rich foods you can eat and incredibly DELICIOUS. Don’t be afraid of blood sausage as it’s probably nothing like you would imagine!
Black pudding is one of the most under-appreciated, and misaligned foods in the USA.
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As an aficionada of this sausage, I want to educate and inform everyone about one of my most favorite foods, to encourage you to give it a try. This is especially true after seeing Wikipedia’s horrendous black pudding photos (they would even put me off), and reading some articles on this sustainable creation which are rather misleading. My opinion is that it is bloody delicious (sorry, how could I not)? 🤣
Part of a full Scottish breakfast.
What is Black Pudding?
Black pudding is the British name for blood sausage. Black pudding is made using pork or cow’s blood, and a varying combination of oats, barley, fat, and spices, depending on the recipe. It is already cooked when it is made for purchase (as in the photo below), however, it is always cooked again (at least nowadays).
IMPORTANT NOTE: black pudding varies greatly in characteristics such as quality, flavor, density,
ingredients and more, much like anything else. If you are going to try it for the first time, you should try to have someone who knows their sausages vet it for you to make sure it’s a good one to try.
I once tried the Bury BP Company version and threw it away.
I love Ramsay’s brand and was lucky to have had some when I visited Scotland last October.
What Does Black Pudding Taste Like?
Eating a good black pudding is a slightly spicy, explosion of flavor like nothing else I’ve tasted. It cannot be compared to another type of sausage (that I am aware of).
Before you judge or decide that you would not like to try this concoction, the end result is much more appealing when cooked into a dish or on a plate. For example, this Chicken Braemar is stuffed with black pudding and served with a whisky cream sauce.
I’m an affiliate for the Scottish Grocer, so use code CHRISTINASCUCINA for 10% off your entire purchase, including blood sausage, when it’s in stock.
Is Black Pudding Good for You?
Black pudding is an excellent source of iron, perhaps the highest in iron of any foods. For those who are lacking in iron or anemic, this is an extremely beneficial dish. This black sausage has even been called a superfood (which I would agree with, however, I am not a nutritionist)! It’s often fried with other foods, so it’s definitely not in competition with blackcurrants on the list of superfoods! Here, you can find more information on the health benefits and nutrition information of blood sausage.
I ate my share when I was extremely anemic a few years ago, and discovered that eating it with a source of Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron, whereas consuming it with caffeine reduces the absorption of iron. Source: NHS.
Black Pudding’s Other Names (in other Countries)
Black pudding is more often referred to as blood sausage in the US and Canada, which may contribute to its lack of popularity. Despite some claims that “blood pudding” is a term to describe this dish, it is rare.
Much the same as the fact that the US refuses to get on board with the metric system, its refusal to embrace certain foods that are wildly popular in the rest of the world clearly tells us something. Here are a few examples of black pudding creations around the world which are by no means all-encompassing.
France – boudin noir
Germany – blutwurst
Italy – sanguinaccio*
Spain – morcilla
Poland – kiszka
Mexico/South America – moronga
Kenya – mutura
Korea – soondae
*NOTE: there are two basic kinds of sanguinaccio in Italy. I am referring to the sausage version. There is another one which is called sanguinaccio dolce and is pudding-like, with chocolate and is sweet.
History of Blood Sausage
This iron-rich sausage isn’t a new kid on the block. It’s mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, if that gives you an idea of its lasting power. Interestingly, black pudding has been called Italy’s first form of Viagra. I would have to have hours of your time to truly go into black pudding in the depth that it deserves. If you’re interested, you can peruse a brief history of the black pudding on Brittanica.com.
Also, it’s important to note that black pudding is not banned in the USA. I believe that perhaps people are confusing it with haggis, which is indeed banned in the United States (the authentic recipe from Scotland).
Since 2013, Stornoway black pudding from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, has been given protected status, much like other more well known products like Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and Prosciutto di Parma DOP.
How do I Cook Blood Sausage?
You can fry, grill, roast, and batter blood sausage, as well as use it to fill, stuff, top and almost anything else you can think of. You can get more ideas below.
What is the Best way to eat Black Pudding?
Black pudding can be eaten in so many different ways, too many to be listed here, but in the UK, the most common manner is to eat it for breakfast with eggs, bacon and other accompaniments. The photo above is from the Bull & Hide Pub in London. I may have actually shed a tear a joy. Of course the best way to eat it is completely subjective. I can tell you that when I’m in the UK, I eat it as often as I possibly can!
Here’s a dish I ordered at the Guardbridge Inn when we stayed at Eden Mansion. Roast pork, baked apple, black pudding and mashed potatoes were served with a scrumptious cream sauce. I reveled in this dish and told the waitress how much I loved it, especially the black pudding, and she came back with another piece of black pudding for me!
Years ago, I bought some at Harrod’s Food Halls in London, and was told it was the same one that Queen Elizabeth ate! It was one of the best I’ve ever had.
It’s also popular served with scallops, cooked into other meat dishes, used as a stuffing or topping, when crumbled. However, in France, boudin noir with apples is popular, and other countries have their own traditions and combinations. I recently popped over to Germany and tried blutwurst for the first time. This particular sausage was a bit too soft for me, although the flavor was fantastic. I saw other, more firm blutwurst, at the butcher, so I think it’s a matter or which blutwurst you try. You can see more from this day of my trip on my Instagram story.
You’ll often find a fried theme with blood sausage, like at my dad’s old fish and chip shop (and other chippies) in Scotland, where it’s battered and deep fried, and often doused with malt vinegar. It’s served with potato fritters here.
And here’s a very Scottish way of eating two of our favorite foods together: Scotch pie with a black pudding hat! Ha ha! This is honestly just something I did one day (and it was scrumptious)! It isn’t actually a proper Scottish dish (the Scotch pie and beans is, though).
On a related noted, white pudding (also called mealy pudding or oatmeal pudding) is often associated with black pudding, and also served alongside it. However, there is no blood in white pudding, and it is mostly made with oatmeal. I made it once, but need more attempts and trials before having a recipe that I approve of to share with you.
I hope you found this article helpful, and I will end with a question for those of you who have never tasted black pudding: have I piqued your interest and will you try it in future?
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