ArchiveFebruary 8, 2020

Traditional Irish Black Pudding

The food scene in Ireland has changed out of all recognition during the past few decades, Dublin is absolutely rocking, Galway too, Cork also has more and more star attractions. Good Day deli in the Nano Nangle Centre continues to garner fans, St Francis Provisions, a San Francisco inspired café in Kinsale has everyone talking. Put Franks and Daddy’s in Dublin on your list as well as Tartare in Galway.

All of the hottest places are really celebrating local produce and incorporating seasonal and foraged foods into their menus. Seaweed is everywhere, in bread, soups, stews, drinks, as are ferments and pickled kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir. The artisan sector continues to grow and flourish and theres a growing confidence which encourages creativity both in the food and drink area and a growing realisation and pride in our traditional food culture. There can be no meaningful future without a connection to our past, so the strap line might be  “Respecting the past – building the future”

A current concrete example might be the inaugural Post Grad Diploma in Irish Food Culture at UCC spearheaded by food historian Regina Sexton whose Ted Talk entitled ‘Are we brilliant or what?’ You must google. . . .

Some time ago I launched National Black Pudding day at the Samhain Festival in Kells in Co Meath. Local artisan butcher Hugh Maguire (aka the Smokin Butcher) demonstrated how to make traditional black pudding with fresh pigs blood to a packed auditorium in the Headfort Arms Hotel. See Hot Tips. . . ..

Regina Sexton introduced us by putting black pudding making in its historical context, I reminisced and shared my memories of killing the pig and making black and white puddings with my great aunt Lil on a farm in Co Tipperary in the late 1950’s, I reminisced about the fun I had, washing out and scraping the intestines under the spring water from the pump in the yard, , helping to mix the pudding and fill it into the natural casings. How fortunate was I to catch the end of an era and to taste the pudding and to realise how different, more delicious and crumbly puddings are made from fresh pigs blood rather than imported dried beef from Spain and Belgium.

Fresh blood puddings are an integral part of our traditional food culture. Its also interesting to remember that every civilization around the world knew the value of fresh blood sausage both in nutritional terms and as a gourmet product, France has Boudin Noir, Spain, Morcilla, Portugal, Morcela, Germany Bratwurst, Sweden & Denmark, blodkorv, Tibet has Gyuma Ngoe Ma flavoured with Sichuan peppercorns – All have fresh blood as a base.

Here in Ireland almost every family butcher would have made their own pudding up to a decade ago, now a mere handful of butchers are making their own fresh blood pudding due to more stringent regulations. However there is a renewal of interest and appreciation among chefs and the general public and a growing realization that traditional black pudding in its many manifestations is an important part of our traditional food culture.

Originally every village butcher had their own secret recipes for both black and white pudding, a dozen or more stalwarts around the country continue the tradition, some fill the mixture into natural casings, others cook it in a tin or mould e.g. Inch House Pudding in Inch , Co Tipperary and Ashe’s  Annascaul Black pudding in Co Kerry .

 Jack McCarthy in Kanturk is passionate about blood puddings and has made several award winning variations on the theme.

Some enthusiastic young butchers are now anxious to learn the skills and are launching traditional black pudding once again to fulfil the growing interest and demand for our traditional blood sausage.

Smoked black pudding with charred onions & Jerusalem artichokes

Serves 8

I love this combination, in fact I’m rather addicted to the Irish smoked black pudding made in the traditional way with fresh blood and natural casings.  The texture is soft and crumbly and totally delicious.

– 4 medium onions, peeled

– extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

– 6–8 medium Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed really well

– 200g piece of smoked black pudding (from The Smoking Butcher)

   or traditional black pudding, skin

   removed and cut into 16 pieces

– 8 sprigs of watercress

– 1 teaspoon Forum Chardonnay vinegar or good-quality white wine vinegar

– flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


– 300ml apple sauce

– 125ml double cream

– 2–3 rounded teaspoons grated fresh horseradish

Preheat the oven to 250°C/gas mark 9.

Halve the onions and brush the cut side with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and arrange on an approx. 40 x 43cm roasting tray lined with parchment paper.

Slice the artichokes into 7mm rounds and place in a bowl. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer around the onions.

Roast for 30–35 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and well coloured.

Place the pieces of black pudding in the same bowl, drizzle over 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss well to coat. Arrange
the black pudding over the roasted vegetables and roast for a further 3–4 minutes until coloured.

To make the sauce, combine the apple sauce and cream in a small pan, bring to the boil and stir in the horseradish.

Place the sprigs of watercress in a bowl and drizzle with the vinegar and 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Toss well to coat.

To serve, divide the dressed watercress between eight plates and arrange half an onion and two pieces of black pudding
on each. Scatter with the artichokes and dollop the sauce here and there.

Black Pudding Sausage Rolls with Bramley Apple Sauce

Who doesn’t love sausage rolls – try these with a twist

Makes 8 – 16 depending on size

Homemade Black Pudding Sausages (see recipe)

450g (1lb) Puff Pastry (see recipe)

Make the sausages; form into rolls, either regular or jumbo size to fit the pastry.

Roll the pastry into a rectangle about 4mm (1/6 inch) thick.  Lay the sausage along the wider side 5cm (2 inch) from the edge.  Brush with egg wash or water.   Fold over the excess pastry, press to seal and cut along the edge.  Flake the edge with a knife or seal with a fork. Brush the top of pastry with egg wash and prick the surface with a fork at 1” (2cm) intervals.  Cover and chill.  Repeat with the remainder.  Before cooking cut into 8’s or 16’s .

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.

Cook for 20-25 minutes depending on size.  Serve with Bramley Apple Sauce

Ballymaloe Sausage Rolls with Caraway Seeds

Brush the top of the sausage rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with caraway seeds.

Bramley Apple Sauce

1 lb (450g) cooking apples, (Bramley Seedling)

1-2 dessertspoons (2-4 American teaspoons) water

2 ozs (50g/1/4 cup) sugar approx. depending on tartness of the apples

Peel, quarter and core the apples, cut pieces in two and put in a small stainless steel or cast iron saucepan, with the sugar and water, cover and put over a low heat, as soon as the apple has broken down, stir and taste for sweetness.  Serve warm.

12/03/2009 (SH) (9425)

Revised 05/09/2018 (PB)

Ballymaloe Pork and Black Pudding Sausages

Choose traditional Black Pudding. Made from fresh rather than imported dried blood.

Sausages made from 100 percent lean meat may sound good, but for sweetness and succulence one needs some fat. The addition of breadcrumbs is not just to add bulk, it greatly improves the texture, too.

Serves 8

(Makes 16 small or 8 large rolls)

225g black pudding, peeled & crumbled.

450g (1lb) good, fat streaky pork (rindless)

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) mixed fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, rosemary and sage)

60g (21⁄2oz) soft white breadcrumbs (see recipe)

1 large garlic clove

1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper

1 organic egg (optional – helps to bind – reduce breadcrumbs to 50g/2oz if omitting egg)

dash of oil for frying

50g (2oz) natural sheep or hog casings (optional)

Mince the pork at the first or second setting, depending on the texture you like. Peel the casing from the black pudding, crumble and add to the bowl. Chop the herbs finely and mix through the breadcrumbs. Crush the garlic to a paste with a

little salt. Whisk the egg, and then mix into the other ingredients thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Fry off a little knob of the mixture to check the

seasoning. Correct if necessary. Fill the mixture into natural sausage casings and tie. Twist into sausages at regular intervals. Alternatively, divide into 16 pieces and roll into lengths to make skinless sausages. Cover and chill.

Homemade sausages are best eaten fresh but will keep refrigerated for 2–3 days.

When ready to eat, fry gently on a barely oiled pan on a medium heat until golden on all sides. These sausages are particularly delicious served with Bramley Apple Sauce

(see recipe) and Potato Cakes (see recipe).


For breakfast sausages, you may want to omit the herbs and garlic.

24/01/2020 24069 (DA/TV)

Boudin Noir with Golden Delicious Apple Sauce

Irish black pudding is entirely different but also married well with both pommes puree and Golden Delicious Sauce, plus maybe a drizzle of grainy mustard and cream.

Boudin Noir is available from ‘On The Pigs Back’ in Corks English Menu

Serves 4

Golden Delicious Apple Sauce

450 g Golden Delicious Apples

1-2 dessertspoons water

25g approx. sugar

olive oil

4 pieces boudin noir 10-12.5cm long

Pommes de Terre Purée

Serves 6-8

900g old potatoes

110ml approx. hot milk

50g butter

1-2 egg whites

salt and freshly ground pepper

Curly or flat leaf parsley to serve

First make the Golden Delicious Apple Sauce.  Peel, quarter and core the apples; cut the pieces into two and put them in a stainless or cast-iron saucepan with sugar and water.  Cover and cook on a very low heat until the apples break down into a fluff.  Stir and taste for sweetness. 

To make the Pommes de Terre Purée. 

Boil the potatoes still in their jackets in a little boiling salted water. Peel immediately while hot, put through a ricer, beat in the boiling milk, egg whites and lots of butter. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

The potato purée should be light and fluffy.

Brush the slices of boudin with extra virgin olive oil.  Cook gently on a pan on a low to medium heat, turning constantly until heated through. 

To serve

Spoon a generous helping of hot fluffy pommes de terre purée onto a hot plate, top with a piece of boudin and a dollop of hot Golden Delicious Sauce.

Serve hot, maybe sprinkled with a little snipped parsley.

Scallion & Black Pudding Champ

Serves 4-6

A bowl of mashed potatoes flecked with green scallions with a blob of butter melting in the centre, add the butter just before serving so it melts into the centre. ‘Comfort’ food at its best.

1.5kg (3lb) unpeeled ‘old’ potatoes e.g. Golden Wonders or Kerrs Pinks

110g (4oz) chopped scallions or spring onions (use the bulb and green stem) or 45g

chopped chives

110g (4oz) Traditional Black Pudding or smoked black pudding peeled

350ml (10-12fl oz) milk

50-110g (2-4oz) butter

salt and freshly ground pepper

Scrub the potatoes and boil them in their jackets.

Chop finely the scallions or spring onions or chopped chives.  Cover with cold milk and bring slowly to the boil.  Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and leave to infuse. Add the crumbled black pudding.  Peel and mash the freshly boiled potatoes and while hot, mix with the boiling milk and onions, beat in the butter.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve in 1 large or 6 individual bowls with a knob of butter melting in the centre.  Scallion mash may be put aside and reheated later in a moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.  Cover with parchment paper while it reheats so that it doesn’t get a skin and add the lump of butter just before serving.

Scallion and Black Pudding Potato Cakes

Shape leftover scallion and Black Pudding mash into potato cakes, cook until golden on both sides in clarified butter or butter and oil. Serve piping hot.

Jane Grigson’s Sussex Pond Pudding

Recipe from English Food by Jane Grigson

Yet another delicious steamed pudding. I cant get enough of these comforting puds these days.

The best of all the English boiled suet puddings. In the middle the butter and sugar melt into a rich sauce which is sharpened with the juice from the lemon. The genius of the pudding is the lemon. Its citrus bitter flavour is a subtlety which raises the pudding to the highest class – this one is iconic among foodies.

When you serve it, make sure that everyone has a piece of lemon, which will be much softened by the cooking, but still vigorous.

Once when I had no lemons, I used a couple of small limes, which were equally successful. The name of the pudding refers to the sauce, which runs out of it, when it is turned on to a serving dish and provides it with a moat of buttery brown liquid.

8 oz self-raising flour

4 oz chopped fresh beef suet (ask your local butcher)

4 oz cubed butter

Milk and water

4oz Demerera sugar

1 large organic lemon

2 pint pudding bowl

Softly whipped cream

Mix the flour and suet together in a bowl. Make into a dough with milk and water, half and half; ¼ pint should be plenty.

The dough should be soft, but not too soft to roll out into a large circle. Cut a quarter out of this circle, this will be used later as the lid of the pudding.

Butter the pudding basin lavishly. Drop the three-quarter circle of pastry into it and press the cut sides together to make a perfect join.

Put half the butter, cubed into the pastry, with half the sugar.

Prick the lemon all over with a skewer, so that the juices will be able to escape, then put it on to the butter and sugar. Add the remaining butter, again cut into cubes, and sugar.

Roll out the pastry which was set aside to make a lid. Lay it on top of the filling and press the edges together so that the pudding is sealed in completely. Cover the bowl with a piece of parchment paper with a pleat in the middle. Tie it in place with a cotton string, and make a string handle over the top so that the pudding can be lifted out easily.

Put a deep saucepan of water on to boil, lower the pudding into it; the water must be boiling and it should come halfway, or a little further up the bowl.

Cover the saucepan and leave to boil for 3 – 3 ½ hours. If the water gets low replenish it with boiling water.

To serve, put a deep hot dish over the bowl after removing the lid and quickly turn the whole thing upside down: it is a good idea to ease the pudding from the sides of the basin with a knife first. Serve immediately with softly whipped cream


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