Archive for February, 2015

Blood sausage (also known as blutwurst, blood pudding, boudin, etc.) is not very popular any more , but it has a long history. Blood is an important source of nutrients, so when slaughtering animals in winter, the blood was saved and used in sausage. For this reason, there are many books of hours that show the December slaughter with someone catching blood in a basin.


Tacuinum Sanitatis (pork butcher) from around 1400 , Italy


Christmas preparations on a calendar page for December in ‘The Golf Book’. British Library MS Additional 24098


December: Roasting Slaughtered Pigs, Pierpont Morgan Library, Hours of Henry VIII, illuminated by Jean Poyer, France, Tours ca. 1500

Slaughtering a pig reduced

From the 15th C Book of Hours from Rouen


December, from the Playfair Book of Hours, British Library, Northern Franc: probably Paris, c. 1460


Calendar Page for December, Slaughtering of the Pig, from a Book of Hours, c. 1550-60


Maitre des Heures de Claude Gouffier, December: Slaughtering of the Pig from a Book of Hours, 1550-60

Apicius (Grocock and Grainger 2.3.2)

Blood Sausages are made like this: you mix blood with chopped leeks and onion, with some yolks of hard-boiled eggs and chopped pine nuts. Add ground pepper and stuff into a sausage skin. Add gound pepper and stuff into a sausage skin. Put liquamen and wine (in a pan) and so cook them.

Le Ménagier de Paris (Greco & Rose)

To make boudin (blood sausage), collect the blood of a pig in a suitable basin or pan. When the pig has been butchered and the haslet (pork viscera – liver, lungs, heart, tongue) washed thoroughly and set to cook, while it is cooking, remove the clots of blood from the bottom of the basin and discard them. Next, mix peeled and minced onions, about half the amount as there is blood, with about half as much entrecerele – that is, the fat found between the intestines – minced as small as dice. Add some ground salt, and stir the mixture into the blood. Grind together ginger, cloves, and a little pepper. Take the small intestines, wash them well, turn them inside out, and rinse well in running water. To remove the odor, place them in a pan on the fire and stir; then add salt, and do it a second and a 3rd time and then wash them. Turn them, this time outer side out, wash them, and set them to dry on a towel, rubbing and wringing them to remove moisture. (What are called the entrecerele are the large intestines, which have fat inside that is pulled out with a knife.) After you have measured and put in equal portions and quantities (half as much onions as blood and a quarter as much fat), and when boudins have been filled with this mixture, cook them in a pan with the haslet broth, and prick them with a pin when they swell; otherwise they will burst. Nota that the blood keeps well for two, indeed even 3, days, once the spices are added. Some may use as spices pennyroyal, savory, hyssop, and marjoram, gathered when they are in flower and then dried and ground. As for the haslet, put it in a copper pot to cook on the fire, whole and without salt, and skim the pot along the edges, for haslet will foam. When it is cooked, take it out and save it to make pottage.

To make liver boudin. Take two pieces of liver, two pieces of lung, a piece of fat and put it in an intestine along with some blood, and for the rest do as above.

Nota that good boudin can be made with goose blood, provided that the goose is thin, for thin geese have larger intestines than fat ones.

According to Laurent Joubert, in his Erreurs Populaires of 1587, the French had a custom of sending blood sausages to friends as a symbol of heartfelt affection.

Maria Debinska, in Food and Drink in Medieval Poland notes that medieval period texts include mention of farcimina (blood pudding or blood sausage – called kiszka in moder Polish). Blood sausage was introduced to Poland before A.D. 1000 from German-speaking areas. Millet kasha is used for stuffing blood sausages of pork and beef, having first been cooked in fat. Similar sausages using various types of grain stuffings (primarily kasha, barley or rice) with blood, liver, lungs, skin and fat are still made in Poland today, flavoured with onions, black pepper and marjoram.

C. Anne Wilson notes  that in England, both black blood-puddings and sausages continued to be made from the traditional ingredients…Both black and white puddings were well liked in Tudor and Stuart times…” (Food and Drink in Britain from the Stone Age to the 19th Century).

The Good Housewife’s Jewel (Thomas Dawson, 1575)

To Make Black Pudding: Take great oatmeal and lay it in milk to steep. Then take sheep’s blood and put to it, and take ox white and mince into it. Then take a few sweet herbs and two or three leek blades and chop tjem [them] very small. Then put into it the yolks of some eggs, and season it with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, pepper and salt. And so fill them.

The English Housewife (Gervaise Markham, 1615)

A Blood Pudding. Take the blood of a whole hog whilst it is warm, and steep it in a quart, or more, or great oatmeal grits, and at the end of three days with your hands take the grits out of the blood, and drain them clean; then put to those grits more than a quart of the best cream warmed on the fire; then take mother of thyme, parsley, spinach, succory, endive, sorrel, and strawberry leaves, of each a few chopped exceeding small, and mix them with the grits, and also a little fennel seed finely beaten; then add a little pepper, cloves and mace, salt, and great store of suet finely shred, and well beaten; then therewith fill your farmes, and foil them, as hath been before described.


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