There will be blood July 7, 2011Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Innards, Pork.
In case the title didn’t give it away – this post contains photos of preparing blood sausage so if the idea of pictures of blood and sausages doesn’t appeal, don’t scroll below the orchid!
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve wanted to cook with blood for a while now. The problem (I thought) was finding it. I asked stallholders at farmers’ markets. I asked various butchers. I looked in different markets. Along the way, while I didn’t find blood, I did learn a bunch of interesting things. For example, it is (apparently) illegal to sell fresh blood in New South Wales (not sure if this is actually true, but that’s what one person told me), but it’s not illegal in Victoria.
Of course, in all my searching, I didn’t look in one of the most obvious places – Footscray. A friend who had gone to Footscray for lunch decided to have a look in the Little Saigon market (at Nicholson & Byron streets) on her way back – and called me, asking if I wanted blood. I naturally said yes, and then contemplated making blood sausages the next day!
In researching making blood sausages, I found Wrightfood’s post on making them very useful, and full of great tips; and Podchef’s video explaining the process from start to finish was a great help. In setting up for making the blood sausage, I also ensured we had some theme-appropriate movies on to have on in the background: Dracula, Dracula’s Daughter, The Horror of Dracula – and of course, There Will Be Blood.
So: the blood.
I was amused to see that it retained the shape of the container it was in for a long time after I took it out. After unsuccessfully trying to push it through a strainer (to remove any clots), I took Wrightfood’s advice and dumped the whole lot in the blender. A few pulses and it was all broken up.
I then was able to push it all through the strainer and removed the clots that way. Next, I got some pork backfat and chopped it up into small cubes. I also chopped up an onion and cooked it in some butter for about 15 minutes, until it was soft and starting to caramelise.
When all this was prepared, I mixed the blood in with the fat, onions, some oats, parsley, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. To me, it looked like a rather thick borscht.
While I’d rinsed out my sausage casings earlier, I didn’t pay much attention to them. Now, when I was getting ready to stuff the mixture in, I realised that I’d ended up with smaller casings even though I’d asked for large ones. Oh well! Not to be deterred, I decided to press on.
I cut the bottom of a soft drink container off to make a funnel, and attached the casing to the other end. I held the casing and funnel while H ladled the blood mixture into the funnel, and used a chopstick to push the larger pieces of fat and onion through. I know I say this in every sausage-related post, but it really is a lot easier with two people!
Even with two people, we weren’t able to take photos of this process, but once the sausage was filled and tied off, some of our hands became free.
As you can see, there was some drainage from the sausage, so I was glad most of it fell into the tin! While I think we did pretty well in keeping the kitchen (and ourselves) free of blood, it still looked rather like a bloodbath (…sorry!) when we were done.
Once all the sausages were filled, I gently poached them in water which was about 75°C, for about 20 minutes. I pricked them in a few places to let a few air bubbles out, and when the blood coming out of the sausage was brown instead of red, I took them out.
To serve, I grilled the sausages just to crisp up the casings, and give them a better colour. I made some mashed parsnip and some pine mushrooms I cooked in butter to go with the blood sausage.
And the verdict: I was really happy with these as a first effort with blood sausage. They were quite soft, and reminded me of blood sausages I’ve had in Germany, compared to the firmer, English-style ones. As I really didn’t follow a proper recipe, I think I didn’t add enough oats, and next time will add more. Having said that, the taste was fantastic. The onion and parsley flavours came through, and blended well with the taste of the blood.
Some tips I found really useful:
- Rather than just trying to strain your blood, process it first in a blender and then push it through a strainer.
- Use a plastic drink container with the bottom cut off as a funnel – it’s the perfect size and means you can ladle the mixture into the container and poke any bigger pieces through with a chopstick (since I didn’t have a large funnel anyway, this worked really well)
- When filling the casings, do it over a tray or tin of some sort – this helps contain the mixture which may escape while filling the casings, or if you accidentally drop the casing and the funnel (not that I would know anything about that!)
Unlike Daniel Plainview, I am in no way “finished” with blood sausages – while I was really happy with this first effort, it can certainly be improved. Now, with a steady supply of blood, more experiments will definitely take place.