Basic Boudin Noir

Stefan Gates presents his version of Jane Grigson's classic recipe for heavenly French black pudding
By Stefan Gates
Basic Boudin Noir
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 10
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: hard


  • 115 g breadcrumbs
  • 700 ml thick double cream
  • 2.8 litres pig's blood
  • 1 tsp quatre-├ępices, a blend of 4 ground spices: 7 parts pepper to 1 part cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon or ginger
  • 85 g salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 50 ml rum, optional
  • 1.3 kg pork fat, diced
  • 1.3 kg onions, chopped
  • intestines, or sausage casings, in 15cm lengths, knotted at one end, soaked in a bowl of water


1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the cream and reserve.

2. Mix the blood with the seasonings, sugar, parsley and rum, if using.

3. Heat about 250g of the pork fat in a heavy frying pan. When the fat becomes liquid, tip in the chopped onions and cook slowly until softened, but not coloured. They should melt rather than fry.

4. Tip in the rest of the diced fat and the cream and breadcrumb mixture. Mix well and stir in the seasoned blood.

5. Take the first length of intestine and fit the unknotted end over the edge of a plastic funnel, being careful not to split it.

6. Ladle your mixture into the funnel, which should be held firmly in one hand so that the skin does not slip off. Don't over-fill the skins, as the mixture swells during cooking; leave enough skin at the end to tie in a knot. As you fill each boudin, let it fall in a coil into a basket.

7. Bring a large pan, half-filled with water, to the boil.

8. Remove from the heat and place the tray of boudins in the water. Be absolutely sure that the water is off the boil when you do this, otherwise they will split.

9. Return the pan to a low heat for about 20 minutes, with the water barely simmering.

10. After about 15 minutes, prick the boudins very gently with a needle. If a brown liquid comes out, they are cooked; if blood comes out, they aren't, so try again in 5 minutes. If they float to the surface whilst cooking, prick with the needle to let the air escape and stop them bursting.

11. Remove from the pan as soon as they are firm (before they are over-cooked) and transfer carefully into a bowl of cold water to cool for 2-3 minutes.

12. Lay the boudins out separately on a flat surface and brush with melted lard to glaze.

13. To serve, cut each boudin into lengths, prick all over as you would a sausage, and fry or grill them.

14. Dish up on a bed of lightly sweetened apple puree, or mashed potatoes with fried apple rings.

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