Black Pudding

Pork, Chickpea & Black Pudding Stew

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have a real soft spot for a good old slice of black pudding!

A grim stalwart of a true Full English, black pudding has for many years been perceived as being one of the more unpalatable progeny of British cuisine. Along with the likes of jellied eels and winkles, black pudding harks back to an era when Britain was not unfairly considered the culinary backwater of Europe. Mercifully though, the tide has long since turned and thanks to an army of parading TV chefs, there is a renewed appreciation of local produce and food traditions in the UK. As a result, British cuisine has witnessed an unprecedented renaissance and thankfully, winkles not withstanding, the likes of black pudding have come along for the ride. Unfortunately, the reality is that few ingredients can transcend disgusting to de rigueur, but black pudding is slowly making its way back into the mainstream of British cuisine.

In nearby Spain, however, black pudding has had a far easier time of it. Known as morcilla or blood sausage, the Spanish seem to have none of the hang-ups about eating it that typically plauge its British cousin. Whether it be simply fried and served with bread or used to add depth and flavour to stews and soups, morcilla remains popular throughout Spain, if not the entire Spanish-speaking world.

Which brings me to this delightfully hearty stew!

On the face of it, this is just another typical Spanish stew, but what sets this recipe apart is, of course, the addition of black pudding. One of the last ingredients to be added, the black pudding has a transformative effect on the dish and is an absolute flavour-masterstroke – especially if the stew is afforded an evening to mature in the fridge. First fried and then added at the final stage of cooking, the black pudding melds with the sauce as it simmers, adding a depth and richness that elevates this humble stew to new, delicious, heights! 

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Black Pud’tanesca

Black Pudding Pasta: Black Pud'tanescaSome days I just need to have a black pudding fix.

Yes, I know many think it’s gross, but my love of black pudding is a cherished hangover from my days when I lived in Newport, South Wales. Back then, I loved nothing more than a visit to my local greasy-spoon cafe, just off the Cardiff Road. This place was the Real McCoy: the accents were thick, the tea was brutal, the vinyl tablecloths slick with grease and the fry-ups were a full-on, no-holds barred affair – even the bread was fried! It may have been a coronary hazard, but was pure greased bliss. Even now the mere thought of fried eggs with baked beans, black pudding and fried bread is enough to make my mouth water and my arteries contract.

Thankfully these days I’m slightly more circumspect about my breakfast choices, but now and again I find myself craving a bit of black pudding. More recently however, I have been trying to find new ways of incorporating this maligned British delicacy into my cooking. As a result, it has found its way into various risottos, been served elegantly with smoked haddock and even added to salads; all delicious, but by far my favourite effort has been Black Pud’tanesca! Akin to a punchy traditional Puttanesca, this robust pasta sauce is not for the fainthearted. A gutsy dish, big on flavour, it had me hooked with my very first bite; each successive mouthful was followed by an “oh my God, that’s amazing!”, culminating in a flurry of unashamed plate-licking, a second helping and more “oh my God”s!

Seriously good, easy to make and impossible to forget, this humble pasta sauce will forever change the way you see black pudding. Be brave and prepare to be amazed; if you’ll forgive the pun, this recipe is bloody delicious!

Click here for the recipe