It works for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is one of my favourite traditional Irish foods, says Rachel Allen, who has some delicious black pudding recipes to try
Black pudding is an integral part of the classic Irish fry-up, and one of our traditional foods, but sadly, it is often confined to breakfast time. It is delicious when paired with apples, potatoes, and even rhubarb and works a treat in a multitude of different dishes.
It's made from pigs' blood, with some spices, fat and a cereal such as pinhead oats, and is one of many different blood sausages from around the world, from Africa to Asia, through the Americas and across Europe, too.
Making home-made blood pudding is not for the faint-hearted, so thankfully we have many wonderful butchers doing that for us. Many, but not all, blood puddings are now made with freeze-dried, imported blood, so for the best authentic texture, flavour and nutritional goodness, seek out those that are made with fresh ingredients, using traditional methods.
This St Patrick's Day, why not include some delicious Irish black pudding in your breakfast, lunch or supper? Paul Flynn's butter beans with chorizo, black pudding and cider recipe, far right, is an Irish twist on a Spanish classic. Serve it in a deep bowl as a meal in itself on rice or mashed potatoes; or, for something a bit different, enjoy it tapas style.
Black pudding loves mustard too, and this simple recipe, also far right, with glazed apples and a creamy mustard sauce, is a classic, for good reason.
And finally, this silky-smooth potato soup recipe which is embellished with crispy crumbs of black pudding and verdant green parsley pesto, is just perfect for Paddy's Day. Serve it as a starter, or as a lunch in itself. Now that's comfort food at its best.
The black pudding that I have in my fridge at the moment is the delicious and traditionally made (with fresh blood) pudding from McCarthy's of Kanturk, Co Cork, a fifth-generation, multi-award-winning artisan butcher, which also sells online. See jackmccarthy.ie
Rhubarb For a spring canape, try cooking new-season sliced rhubarb with some sugar until it is tender, then serve it atop fried black pudding on mini crostini.
For a vegetarian version of the potato soup, use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock, and crunchy croutons instead of the black pudding.
Serves 3-4, tapas style
You will need:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
5 sprigs of sage
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
100g chorizo, peeled and sliced
100g black pudding, peeled and diced
330ml dry cider
½ chicken stock cube, crumbled
1 x 400g tin of butter beans, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 In a pan, cook the finely chopped onion slowly in the butter with the sage sprigs and the chopped garlic until the onions are tender - this should take about 8-10 minutes.
2 Add the tomato puree and the smoked paprika, and cook for a further two minutes. Add the sliced chorizo and cook for five minutes or so to allow the oils to come out.
3 Add the diced black pudding to the pan and cook it for two minutes. Next, add the dry cider, crumble in the chicken stock cube, and add the tinned butter beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, then add the chopped fresh parsley and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.
You will need:
350g potatoes, peeled and chopped
150g onions, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
750ml chicken stock
250ml milk, or a mix of half milk and half cream (depending on how rich you want it)
4 x 1cm-thick slices of black pudding (see Rachel Recommends), peeled
1 tablespoon parsley pesto - see recipe
1 Melt 25g of the butter in a saucepan, add the chopped potatoes and the chopped onions, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir well, and cover with a butter wrapper or a piece of greaseproof paper.
2 Put the lid on the saucepan and sweat the vegetables over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent the potatoes sticking. Next, remove and discard the butter wrapper or greaseproof paper, whichever you are using, and add the chicken stock. Turn the heat up, bringing the liquid to the boil. Continue cooking until the vegetables are soft, which should take about another 2-3 minutes.
3 Add the milk, or the mixture of half milk and half cream, whichever you're using, then liquidise the soup, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may need to add more chicken stock or milk to thin out the soup if it is too thick - it'll depend on the potatoes that you're using. The soup can be enjoyed straightaway, or it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen for another time.
4 Up to half an hour before you're ready to eat, cook the black pudding. Place a small frying pan on a medium heat and place the remaining 10g of butter in it. Once the butter is melted and foaming, add the black pudding slices and cook them for about 6-8 minutes on either side, until the pinhead oats in the pudding look a rich golden colour on the outside. Using the tip of a wooden spoon, break up the pieces of black pudding into little nuggets, and cook for a minute more. Put them on kitchen paper and keep them warm until you are ready to serve.
5 To serve, place a ladleful of the hot soup into warm bowls, drizzle with a little of the parsley pesto and scatter the black pudding nuggets over the top.
For the glazed apples, you will need:
2 eating apples
1 tablespoon caster sugar
A squeeze of lemon juice
12-16 x 1cm slices of Irish black pudding (3-4 per person)
For the mustard sauce, you will need:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Lakeshore honey mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 Peel, core, and neatly cut the apples into ½cm slices.
2 Melt 25g of the butter in a frying pan, and when it is foamy, add the apple slices and coat them in the butter. Add the caster sugar and the lemon juice, and cook the apples slowly for approximately five minutes until they are tender and glazed in a shiny syrup.
3 In a separate frying pan, cook the black pudding slices in the remaining 15g of butter for about 6-8 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
4 Next, make the mustard sauce. Put the cream in a small saucepan with the Dijon mustard and the Lakeshore honey mustard, and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary.
5 Arrange the warm glazed apple slices on one large serving dish or on individual plates. Arrange the slices of black pudding on the apples, and spoon the mustard sauce over the top. Scatter a few chopped chives over the top, and serve.
Photography by Tony Gavin