I completely understand that black pudding is not for everyone’s palate or psychological well being. However I loose my reluctant understanding for the folk that have never sampled this fine delicacy but screw up their faces with such sincere disapproval as if instead I had announced my chosen career path as a stripper! (Case #1, my sister. And we’ll soon know if she’s actually been reading my blog if I hear her wining tones at this comment). If you’ve never tried black pudding then who knows- you could have wasted years rejecting something delicious so this recipe is a fine way to start.
I usually default away from making cliche recipes in my desperate need to experiment at any occasion that calls for food but sometimes I must admit you can’t beat the satisfaction and comfort of a classic. And, lets face it, they exist for a reason and black pudding and pea really is a classic example of two deliciously matched soul partners of the food world. Peas are sweet and fresh which is the perfect harmony for the fatty and rich black pudding. What could be more unfussy and simple than a pile of minted pea puree with a crispy fried slice of black pudding resting lazily on top….
- A bowl of peas (a good handful per person)
- Small bunch of mint, leaves picked
- Knob of butter
- Black pudding slices (1-2 slices per person)
- 1 apple (serves 2 people)
- Lemon juice
- Boil the peas for a few minutes and then drain.
- Place in a food processor with some generous seasoning the knob of butter and the mint leaves and blend to a puree adding a little warm stock or boiling water to loosen to the desired consistency. Alternatively, without a processor you could eat this as a coarse pea mash which would be equally as delicious.
- Cut your apple into matchsticks with a sharp knife and set aside in a bowl with a little squeeze of lemon juice to prevent it turning brown and a little seasoning.
- Heat a frying pan until hot and add a tiny drop of oil if you wish. Fry the black pudding for a few minutes on each side until crispy and cooked through.
- Serve on top of your warm pea puree and top with a handful of the crunchy apple matchsticks.
- Drizzle with a little oil and a scattering of mint leaves and serve.
If you’ve been converted to black pudding then here are a few more of my favourite delicious ingredients that go well with it:
- Butternut squash
- Blue cheese
- Pear, apple
- Roast pork, belly is good
- Thyme, rosemary
- Eggs (especially little fried quails eggs)
- Chicken, rabbit, monkfish (stuffed with black pudding)
- Oh and of course, a fry up…..
Black pudding stuffed chicken in a mushroom and red wine sauce, wet polenta and garlic kale (Serves 4)
- 4 free range chicken thighs, skin on, bone removed
- 4 chicken drumsticks.
- 2-3 large thick slices of black pudding
- A few rosemary sticks, leaves picked and chopped
- Thyme, leave picked
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 large glass red wine
- Stock – beef for a rich sauce, chicken for a lighter one
- 1 handful of dried wild mushrooms
- 150g quick cook polenta
- 400ml milk
- Knob of butter
- 20g grated parmesan
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. To start, heat the milk and the same amount of water in a sauce pan and add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. Just before it comes to the simmer remove from the heat and leave to infuse to use in the polenta later.
- Crumble the black pudding into a bowl and add the thyme. Mash until paste-like. Open up the chicken thighs and stuff a spoonful of the black pudding inside and roll up. You can secure these with the rosemary sticks if you wish. Season the skin well. Stuff this black pudding mix under the skin of the drumsticks too and season.
- Fry the red onion in a little oil until soft and then add the rosemary leaves. Add the red wine and simmer briefly before adding the mushrooms which will soften in the liquid and remove from the heat
- Place in a casserole dish and add the chicken pieces so they fit tightly. Add enough stock to come most of the way up the sides of the chicken so that the chicken can poach and roast gently as it cooks being careful not to pour it over the skin or you won’t get a crispy skin (we can’t have that!)
- Place in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the chicken is golden, cooked through and the sauce is bubbling away nicely.
- Meanwhile, tip the kale into boiling water for a matter of 30 seconds to wilt but drain it quickly while still bright green, soft and full or nutrients. Leave to drain the excess moisture. Heat a little oil in your frying pan from before and gently fry your garlic over a very low heat being careful not to burn it. Add the kale and a knob of butter and stir to combine. Set aside to keep warm.
- I suggest leaving the polenta until last minute as it won’t wait so see to the kale first and then the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked remove from the sauce and leave to rest in a warm place. The sauces thickness with vary depending on how much stock you added but to thicken (which is what I needed to do) mix a tbsp of butter and flour in a mug until you have a paste. Whisk this paste into the red wine sauce until smooth and the sauce will begin to thicken without being lumpy. Set aside to keep warm.
- Before you cook the polenta, make sure you’re ready to go -plates warming, guests hungry, wine open and aerating!
- Drain the milk from earlier and bring to the simmer. Whisk the polenta in a steady stream into the milk and stir continuously as it will thicken immediately. Let it bubble for a minute until smooth and creamy. Stir in the butter and cheese and some generous seasoning (it will need salt) and taste.
- Spoon into bowls immediately and top with a chicken thigh and drumstick each and a generous spoonful of the mushroom sauce.
- Sit aside some warm garlicky kale and serve on a wild and windy evening with a bold punchy glass of red.
WINE RECOMMENDATION: This weekend I tried Waitrose’s Vina Valdivieso Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley. It was bold and had lovely dark berry and fruit flavours and some menthol notes to it. Delicious with the rich black pudding.