Well, I promised I would do this (to myself, if not to anyone else). Here is my first ever attempt at making blood sausage, otherwise known as black pudding, boudin noir, blutwurst, moronga, or morcilla, depending on where you are.
A warning, though. If you are deeply revolted by blood, you might not want to examine the photographs in this post too closely. I like blood, but even I found it a little hard to deal with. I’ve made an effort to be as tasteful as possible and left out the parts of the process where my kitchen began to resemble an abattoir, but in the end, if you’re going to make blood sausage, sooner or later you’re going to have to talk about blood. This was going to be my attempt to emulate moronga, the sausage I had in Nicaragua, which contained onions, rice, and chilis.
Because this was my first try at sausage, I had none of the requisite equipment, such as a sausage stuffer. I am, however, a notorious cheapskate, and found that a simple kitchen funnel and a wooden spoon worked just fine. I’m sure a sausage stuffer would vastly simplify the process, and one day when I have a kitchen bigger than a bathtub I may invest in one. In the meantime, though, this method will continue to work for me.
I found tubs of pork blood and pork casings (intestine) at the Japanese supermarket Uwajimaya in Seattle. They were about five bucks each. Lamb casings were also available, but I decided to stick with a piggy theme. I don’t know what the difference would be, but pork casings turned out to be quite wide, big enough for bratwurst. If I wanted to make skinny little links, perhaps lamb would be better? More research is called for.
I soaked the intestines in water. A random website I cruised through recommended soaking them overnight or at least 3 hours, but I was enthused and probably soaked them about 40 minutes. It all went off without a hitch, so what can I say?
2 cups boiled white rice
2 finely diced, lightly fried onions
I tsp salt
3 chilis (I used two Thai chilis and one pepperoncini, since they were what I happened to have on hand. The sausages were not spicy enough for my taste. If I did it again I would put in loads more, perhaps habaneros).
1 tsp oregano (why not?)
A generous grind of coarse black pepper
14 oz of pork blood solution from a reputable supermarket
All the ingredients were combined in a bowl. The blood had solidified into a robust kind of red jello and took a good deal of mashing to fully blend it with the other ingredients.
I found one end of the casing and threaded it over the end of a kitchen funnel in the manner of the original Trojan (sorry). It is absolutely amazing how stretchy and flexible intestine is. Until you try it you won’t believe me, but I managed to bunch up enough casing to use all of the stuffing in about an inch of funnel. When I couldn’t fit any more casing on, I tied it off with string and cut it. The casing was ready to be stuffed.
I part-filled the funnel with stuffing and began shoving it down the funnel with the wrong end of a wooden spoon. This worked a treat but was indescribably ugly to watch, so I have avoided posting any pictures in case you might actually want to try this recipe. Make sure you do not over stretch the casing! Since this was my first time, I backed off when the sausage was taking the dimensions of bratwurst, though I’m certain the casing could have stretched out a good deal further. What a wonder material intestine is. It’s like elastic! I also molded the sausage with my free hand as I went, just keeping it basically sausage-shaped, and trying to avoid air pockets.
When I ran out of stuffing I tied off the casing at the other end. It helped to have several short bits of string on hand, since my hands were rather grotty by now. Despite the bright red colour, it was beginning to look actually appetizing.
Now, I tied off the links. I did this by first twisting the link in one direction, then twisting the next link in the opposite direction, and so on, tying them with bits of string for good measure. Don’t tie the string too tight, or you risk ripping the casing. A loose but secure double knot is fine.
Once the links are formed, the sausage is ready to be poached. I happened to have a deep saucepan with a wire steamer rack, bought years ago on a whim, so I used that. I filled the saucepan with water, brought it to the boil, then took it off the heat and put the steamer in, submerging the sausages. Then I put it on very low heat for about twenty minutes.
If the sausages rise in the water, this is a sign they contain air bubbles, which may lead to rupturing of the casing. I pricked the sausages with a pin once they started to do this, but I’m not sure if it helped. I had one blowout, which filled the saucepan with rice. Nevertheless, when the remainder were good and poached, all they needed was a quick rinse to be presentable again.
And there they are. They actually look like sausages, don’t they? The little shriveled one is the one that burst in the poaching stage. At this point I cooled them in the fridge so they would shrink a little and solidify. Then I cut off a link, fried it in olive oil, and ate it with ketchup.
Delicious! Now, what kind shall I make next? Five bucks of intestine goes a long way.