Delicious blood sausages have at last been recognised by genuine scientists as a superfood. Here’s three recipes to get you started
Black pudding and pea samosas
Hot, crispy proof that this is one superfood that’s best served fried and paired with something piquant, whether that’s hot mustard or a spicy pickle.
(makes about 18 mini samosas)
For the pastry (or use 9 sheets of ready-made filo)
130g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp neutral oil, plus extra to grease
For the filling
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green chillis
1 tbsp grated root ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves, ground
125g black pudding, skin removed and crumbled
30g frozen peas
To make the pastry, put the flour in a large bowl and whisk in the salt. Add the oil and rub in with your fingers, then gradually add just enough cold water to bring it together into a stiff dough – about 50ml should do. Knead for about five minutes until smooth, then lightly oil, cover and set aside to rest.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and fry the onion until soft and deep golden, then add the chilli and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir in the ground spices and black pudding and fry for another five minutes, stirring to break up the pudding and adding the peas halfway through. Season to taste.
Divide the pastry into 12 balls of about 18g each for small samosas, or 6 balls of about 35g for slightly larger ones, and put all but one under a damp cloth. Roll the ball out on a lightly greased surface to a circle about 18cm (10cm for small) in diameter and cut in half. Pick up one half, wet the round edge with water and form into a cone shape, overlapping the wet edge and pressing together to seal.
Fill the cones, wet the top edge, pinch to close and fold over any remaining flap of pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry, making sure each samosa is well sealed.
Heat a deep frying pan with about 4cm of oil to about 175C/347F, or use a fryer. When the oil has come to temperature add a batch of samosas (don’t overcrowd the pan) and cook until golden brown, turning as necessary. Scoop on to paper towels and serve immediately.
Spaghetti and black pudding meatballs
Richer, darker and, dare I say it, more interesting than your standard meatball, these go down very well on a winter’s evening with a hearty glass of southern Italian red.
6 tbsp milk
1 thick slice of wholemeal bread –the darker the better – crusts removed
1 onion, finely chopped
300g black pudding, skin removed and crumbled
200g minced beef
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp currants
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Good grating of nutmeg
Olive oil, to fry
For the sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
800g good, tinned plum tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
Dash of red wine vinegar
3 stems of fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
400g spaghetti or linguine
To make the sauce, gently fry the onion in the oil until soft and golden, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Mash in the tomatoes, then add the sugar, vinegar and stems of the basil, reserving the leaves, and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and cook for about 45 minutes until thick, then season to taste.
Meanwhile, soak the bread in the milk for about 10 minutes. Fry the onion in a little oil until beginning to caramelise, and add to a large bowl with all the other ingredients. Season well, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
Mash the bread into a milky paste then add it to meatball mixture and mix in well. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and fry 1tsp of the mixture until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, and then taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Shape the mixture into small balls add another 2tbsp olive oil to the pan, and fry the meatballs in batches until nicely caramelised all over, then turn down the heat and fry more gently until cooked through. Keep warm.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss together with the sauce and a splash of oil until well combined, then add the meatballs. Divide between bowls and top with the basil leaves.
Black pudding chocolate pots
Bizarre as it sounds, the sweet, earthy flavour of black pudding works brilliantly with the bitter richness of dark chocolate. Make sure you get a smooth variety, such as Bury, rather than one studded with oats or barley.
300ml double cream
150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
60g smooth black pudding, skin removed and crumbled
1 tsp caster or granulated sugar
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Gently heat the cream into a small pan until it begins to simmer. Take off the heat and stir in the chocolate, the soft brown sugar and all the spices, plus a pinch of salt then leave for a minute before stirring to melt.
Crumble in 50g black pudding and then whizz with a stick blender until smooth. Divide between 4 small ramekins and chill until set.
When ready to serve, heat a small frying pan until very hot and then add the remaining 10g crumbled black pudding. Stir to break up and fry until crisp, then add the remaining sugar and stir to melt. Tip on to a plate and leave to cool.
Top each pot with a dollop of creme fraiche and a little candied black pudding before serving.