There Will Be Blood (Sausage)
How do you get your wife to buy the main ingredient for dinner without letting her know exactly what it is?
Keep referring to it as “boudin noir.”
OK…I wasn’t exactly conducting a top-secret operation when I asked her to stop by Salumeria Biellese in Manhattan to pick up some blood sausages. She’s usually pretty agreeable about trying new and exotic items, particularly when they get the TVFF seal of approval.
Still, I wasn’t sure how well this would go over, so I stuck with the more vague French name and hoped that she wouldn’t bother looking over any ingredient list on the package. The jig was up when she and a co-worker took a photo of the sausages on her phone to show me and they noticed that the second or third item was “pig’s blood,” but I think that actually earned her some cred in the office for being adventurous.
And so it was time to bring these sanguine sausages home for an authentic French bistro-style preparation, courtesy of a recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook…
This was a simple sear-and-roast of the sausages, which were served over sliced caramelized apples with a pinch of cumin seeds thrown in for good measure, but the boudin noir were a slight bit trickier than I had anticipated. The first issue was purely cosmetic…the holes that I poked in the skin to avoid an explosion began weeping blood.
Yes, I said WEEPING BLOOD.
Seriously, if this thing had been in the shape of Jesus, I would have had devout pilgrims lined up around my block.
The bigger problem, though, is that it is an extremely loose filling. Being a butcher shop that makes its own products, the salumeria sells them with a short length of string tying up ends of the natural casing — they’re going for quality rather than prettiness. I gave the ends a snip with kitchen shears…bad idea. The filling came streaming out the ends and into the pan during roasting, leaving the sausages half the size of the original. Undaunted, I scooped up the filling, spooned it onto the plate and decided that I’d be searching Flickr for an image to lead off this post rather than shooting my own photo.
The resulting flavor was no worse for the ruptured boudin. The distinct, yet subtly complex flavor of the sausage was cut nicely by the sweetness of the caramelized apples and the natural casing provided just enough of a texture to make up for the softness of the interior. These things are the anti-Pringles, though…it’s to tough to eat more than one due to the richness. One of them, paired with side of rosemary potatoes roasted in duck fat, were a wonderful taste of Paris in my dining room.
Just don’t let the name scare you off.