Boudin Noir

Boudin Noir

I’m not one of those “extreme eaters” and I doubt you’ll ever see me on one of those television shows showing off how brave I am, boasting about eating Lord-knows-what. In fact, I am the opposite end: I’m a defender of those who don’t want to eat certain things. Who cares what other people’s food preferences are?*

A few years back I got to cook with Andrew Zimmern, the host of “Bizarre Foods” who had come to France. To be honest, I didn’t know who he was because I’ve been away from the States for a while. I was amazed when we went to my local market to shop on a sleepy Sunday morning, when suddenly, out of the woodwork, swarms of Americans descended on him. (Notice I said “him” and not “us” – hrrmmph!)

But being the gentleman that I am, I stepped aside to let the crowd through. And after spending a day with him, I’d have to agree: Next time I see him, I’m going to swarm him (again), too. He is one of the loveliest and most fun people I’ve ever met.

Boudin Noir

As much as I kind of fell for him, I still don’t share his proclivity for eating all sorts of oddities, although I am sometimes curious about them. People have asked me, “Why are Americans so squeamish about what they eat?” which is rather odd because Americans eat a lot of hot dogs – and Lord knows what’s in those…and some eat whatever is in that packet of orange powder that comes with boxed macaroni & cheese. (Which I recently bought on a whim because I saw it in a store, which was definitely not as good as I remembered.) And I have French friends who would never eat rabbit, kidneys, brains, or any of les autres abats (offal).

I don’t want to stereotype either, but last time I was in California, there were two twenty-something women dining next to us at Zuni. Both looked like they may have just come from a pilates class. One of them ordered a burger, pushed away the bun (carbs!) and took her knife and fork to the meat patty and salad. The other ordered the boudin noir, and proceeded to dive into it when it landed in front of her. I was intrigued because it’s not something one often sees on menus in America, or even in France anymore. So I just had to ask her, “How is it?” (Not because I wanted to know if it was any good, because if it was at Zuni, I’m sure it was excellent, but because I needed a conversation starter and I wanted to know why she ordered it in the first place.)

Boudin Noir

I like various kinds sausages, especially merguez, and will indulge in an occasional hot dog – hello Top Dog in Berkeley! (And, er…Costco. But mostly for the condiments.) But tend not to overdo it in the “what-kind-of-meat-is-in-this-thing-?” department. Yet recently I was invited to a friend’s home and when I arrived, she was frying up rounds of boudin noir. And they were the best bites of boudin I’d ever had. So shortly after, I went over to the rue de Nil, to the butcher shop of Terroirs d’Avenir, where the focus is on meat from sustainable sources. And if you’re going to eat products made from part of animals that filter things, you should probably make sure they’ve been fed something that doesn’t require a lot of icky stuff to get trapped in their filters.

Boudin Noir

The butcher had two kinds of boudin noir (known elsewhere as blood sausage, black pudding, or morcilla, in Spain). One was from the Basque region, which looked juicy and plump, but he warned me away. “They’re really, really fatty. Too fatty for most people.” He steered me toward the boudin noir from the Jura, the mountainous region of east-central France where Comté and Mont d’Or cheeses are made. I guess since they get so much fat from Comté and Mont d’Or, they need to make up for it with leaner sausages.

Boudin Noir

I took my wiener(s) home, heated some oil in a pan, and sliced my sausages up to cook them. Curiously, they’re a soft chocolate-brown color when you slice into them. But when sliced and pan-fried, which I think it the best way to cook them, they become pitch black as they crisp up. Boudin noir** is best paired with sautéed apples, and nothing else, really. Except maybe a little bit of courage.



*I’ve never understood why, if you don’t like something, people say, “You don’t like _______? Well, you’ve never had my __________…..” And I just want to reply, “I don’t want it. Leave me alone.”

**That said, you should give boudin noir a try. Even if you don’t think you’d like it.


Related Links and Recipes

Blood sausage recipe (Honest Food)

Morcilla (Serious Eats)

Homemade blood sausage (Wrightfood)

Spaghetti with black pudding and tomato sauce (Eat Like a Girl)

Estonian Blood Sausage (The Paupered Chef)

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118 comments

  • june2
    January 27, 2014 10:02am

    One of the only memories I have of my Polish grandmother is of eating her blood sausage as a kid, I was 8 I think, and thinking it was one of the best things I’d ever eaten. She and a slew of aunties and uncles, (all her grown children, I now realize), butchered the animals and produced the whole event from scratch in her cavernous basement. I think it was pan-fried like these but were more like an inch thick, which gave a perfect ratio of crispy to moist.

  • January 27, 2014 10:18am

    I eat Bourdin Noir with gently fried apples and onions and I fry them in goose fat. But only about once a year….

  • January 27, 2014 10:28am

    This post brought back memories, merci, David. Ah, my mom’s “boudin aux pommes,” (blood sausage and apples.) How tasty that was… :-) Bonne semaine ! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  • Lynn
    January 27, 2014 10:28am

    Wait, aren’t you gonna tell us why post-pilates-girl ordered the boudin noir? :)

  • Kaja
    January 27, 2014 10:50am

    Hi, David!
    In Slovenia, we eat blood sausage (“krvavica”; “kri” = blood) with potatoes and sauerkraut or pickled turnip and we bake the whole sausage in the oven (we don’t slice them up). If you’re lucky, the sausage bursts while baking and gets crisp all over – but this probably doesn’t sound as good as it should. They’re really tasty and filled with barley, quite similar to haggis but with slightly different spices. I think eating blood sausages (boudin or otherwise) is easier if you’ve been eating since your childhood, before you start asking yourself what they’re made of.

  • January 27, 2014 11:03am

    I love black pudding as we Brits call it. Of course in the UK, it’s mostly included in a Breakfast and I love it fried so that the outside is crispy. When I was a child in Scotland, I remember the Scottish ones with large pieces of fat which I would pick out and leave on the side of my plate. At the moment, the trendy way to serve it is as a Scotch egg, wrapping a boiled egg, rolled in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fried.

    Now, I tend to eat it very occasionally and with fried apples. I find the French boudins noirs tend to be softer than the UK ones and fall apart when I fry them. Here in rural South West France, in a local bar/restaurant, where there is no choice for lunch, it was served boiled and looked very unappetising. I was right, it was, and the texture not at all pleasant, I couldn’t eat it. Morcilla in Spain is wonderful, served in thin slices with a glass of something chilled on the terrace of a bar in the early evening. Another restaurant serves it as a starter with fried eggs and it is very good. Once, I wanted to eat two starters instead of a starter and a main course and was rather startled to find that they had increased the quantity to main course proportions and served me three large slices with three fried eggs.

  • January 27, 2014 11:05am

    Honestly I try to try everything at least once, but if I know I don’t like something I don’t, or let others, push the matter.

    Did you find out why she ordered it in the end?

  • January 27, 2014 11:48am

    Blood pudding is starting to have a presence here in Seattle. We are lucky to have some butchers that source local, sustainable product, most notably Dot’s Deli and Rain Shadow Meats. Quite often you’ll see them stuffing the sausages as you’re eating lunch, but I’ve never tried them. Not because I’m squeamish. but, rather, that I forget about them. After reading this post, I think that I should hop over to Dot’s and get some. Thanks for the tip about the apples!

  • January 27, 2014 12:13pm

    It’s delicious cooked to a little crunchy on the edges and crumbled over a light salad with fresh peach slices and crispy bacon as well as some creamy mozzarella. Yum!

    FoodNerd x

  • Katie
    January 27, 2014 12:22pm

    Years ago I was driving across Europe with a bunch of friends and we stopped at a farmhouse in Germany to spend the night. I’ll never forget sleeping upstairs (animals were downstairs) under eiderdown comforters and windows open to the starry night. The next morning we drank the most wonderful apple cider and our friends packed lunch for us to take on our way. Around noon I opened my sandwich of blood sausage and the bread was smeared with red (sausage had melted). I went without lunch that day and never cared for blood sausage after that, however I’m sure it’s very good :)

  • January 27, 2014 12:34pm
    David Lebovitz

    Lynn + Rachel: Funny, I think I didn’t ever ask her!

    Kaja: Years ago a friend told me kids in France love it because it’s so sweet. I didn’t quite get it until I tried it – then I understood why folks like it.

  • January 27, 2014 12:37pm

    Interesting how cultures define ingredients and we label them as regular food. I’m not an extreme eater at all, but we eat blood sausage here like crazy. Together with chorizo (pork/meat, not the red spanish type) they’re the appetizer in a barbecue usually.
    In the last year I’ve seen them with more processed fillings, and not so many chunks of fat and cartilage for everyone to see. Eye that don’t see/hearts that don’t feel, like we say here. Yours look just like that, very little chunks of fat.
    Cooked without casings and mixed with mashed potatoes… amazing!

  • January 27, 2014 12:39pm

    It’s true that Americans have a bad rap here for being picky eaters (no one seems to get that just because I don’t really care for bloody steaks doesn’t mean that I like my meat GREY).

    I’ll try just about everything once, though. I’ve tasted snails, frog legs, and black sausage…which is more that my French other half can say! Still can’t really say that I liked these things, unfortunately

  • Shilpa
    January 27, 2014 12:50pm

    One of the best ways I’ve had it is in a pork wellington. Fry it with some finely chopped onions and mushrooms duxelle. Layer the fillet on top of this filling and encase in pastry. Serve with an apple mustard creamy sauce.

  • Amy Leer
    January 27, 2014 1:00pm

    Our bomBlood sausage tastes like comfort food if you get past the name! I just pre ordered your book on amazon!

  • January 27, 2014 1:09pm

    In the north of Spain, there’s a dish called Morcilla Matachana, which is one of the few exceptional foods which looks appalling and tastes amazing. Rather than a sausage, the morcilla ends up as a kind of paste, which you spread on bread or toast. Once you’ve got over the initial hurdle of the plate of black slop in front of you, it truly is some of the best black pudding I’ve ever had – you just have to take the leap of faith!

    • January 27, 2014 1:44pm
      David Lebovitz

      When I was in Seville, we were at a tapas bar and they said the specialty of the day was “blood,” which got ordered. Out came a small dish of quivering cubes with a tofu-like consistency that were grey and rather unappealing. (They were also doused in a heckuva lot of olive oil.) I did try one, which didn’t make me want to try another. But the dish you get in northern Spain sounds much (much) better!

  • January 27, 2014 2:14pm

    Although I am willing to try just about anything, cooked blood was something I always said no to. Well, at least until my daughter, even as a toddler, wanted to try everything, including blood sausage. She made it look so delicious that I couldn’t help but taste it, too. And it’s really, really good. I think you make a good point about Americans being squeamish about a lot of things, but then eating hot dogs!

  • January 27, 2014 2:59pm

    My mom ate morcilla when I was growing up and I was reintroduced to it recently since she wants my boyfriend to try every Nicaraguan food when we’re home for a visit. I didn’t realize boudin noir was the same thing. Now I know!

  • Clara
    January 27, 2014 3:36pm

    David, if I met you with anyone else in tow, it would be you I’d be interested in saying “Hi” to. I have been reading your blog for about 3 – 4 years now and have several of your books. I love your wit and humour and enjoy your recipies. If we ever get to Paris again, I am going to use your blog to figure out where we need to go for food, chocolate, and dining experiences.

  • January 27, 2014 3:57pm

    I remember eating black pudding as a child in Finland,where it is eaten with lingonberry jam. Now I would not touch it;D The Finnish city of Tampere is famous for its black sausage

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustamakkara

  • January 27, 2014 4:06pm

    I love black pudding, she reading this post just before lunch has made me regret the I’d none in the house!

  • January 27, 2014 4:30pm

    I personally never liked it, but that’s a taste preference. Blood sausage was usually found in the fridge when I grew up, just a part of the cold cuts that are bought at the local butcher in Germany. My dad loved it.

  • Maggie
    January 27, 2014 4:41pm

    Oh man, black pudding. I think black pudding might actually be the thing I miss most about living in the UK. Stornoway black pudding is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten — and even living as I do in a strongly Irish suburb of Boston (where surprise! You can actually *find* blood pudding in the markets!), I have never founds its equal stateside.

    I’m looking forward to giving marag dubh’s French cousin a try the next time I run across it!

  • January 27, 2014 5:06pm

    I do believe I’ll have some of what you’re having. Can I get a bit of cheese and some grain mustard also?
    Yep. I would eat that, but I do agree. There simply are some foods that I can’t consider: beef liver, brains and cow tongue… Oh, and venison! However, I do love me some elk, especially an elk burger. BEST burger, EVER!

  • January 27, 2014 5:08pm

    When studying abroad in Toulouse, a French student introduced us to fried boudin noir and apples. Once I got over the initial shock of “oh my gosh, you want me to eat what?” and actually tried it, I couldn’t believe how good it was.

  • Cris
    January 27, 2014 5:41pm

    Calvin Trillin once wrote that he had the same mac & cheese experience you did with what his family had called “Kraft dinner,” only to discover that what he craved was not Kraft dinner, but day-old leftover Kraft dinner. Perhaps that “cheese” just needed to age?

  • Jessica
    January 27, 2014 5:45pm

    I love this stuff! The swedish name for it is blood pudding (blodpudding). Some people hate it, I have an affinity for it. Fry in butter, serve with a bit of bacon and lingonberry jam. Perfection!
    I don’t usually eat anything characterised as offal, blood pudding (boudin noir, black pudding etc) is amazing. Frying them in duck fat adds a whole other dimension to it but I try very hard to keep away from it. Otherwise, I’d be heading for distaster.

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  • January 27, 2014 5:57pm

    I am currently doing a “stage” at a place near Oloron-Sainte-Marie, so it’s more Béarn than Basque, but the boudin noir in casings is sold out every week, and people also like the boudin noir that’s put up in jars and used as part of a charcuterie plate. I like it fried hot and crumbly along with fried eggs and, in season, the long thin sweet-hot green peppers grown around here, also fried until soft and charred. I will admit that our version of boudin noir is fairly fatty, but that just means you don’t have to add any extra fat to fry your eggs! I’m going up to Paris at the end of May – let me know if you want me to tuck one in my suitcase for you to try.

  • BlinkyTheFish
    January 27, 2014 5:57pm

    In our house we crumble boudin noir, pan fry until crispy, then mix it through a big bowl of butter and creme fraiche whipped potatoes – ultimate comfort food in winter!

  • January 27, 2014 6:18pm

    We’re definitely on the same page here, though not as brave or daring as you. That said, I’m still left wondering why some humans I know dispise avocado, ricotta, tomatoes, fennel, dark chocolate…etc.!?!?

  • January 27, 2014 6:19pm

    Yes to boudin noir!

  • Lee
    January 27, 2014 6:23pm

    My mouth is watering. Since my first bite of morcilla I have loved it but somehow I never think about getting it here in the US. Which is foolish now that I live in an area where I
    could get it. Anyway, thanks for another delightful post and for the inspiration!

  • MrsG
    January 27, 2014 6:42pm

    Boudin Noir, is truly one of my bistro favorites. While living in NYC, when Tony Bourdain was Chef at Les Halles he made the best boudin noir outside of Les Halles in Paris! They were never cut up in bits, but steam cooked then quickly sauteed and served with mashed potatoes. (no bangers and mash type of dinner). It was just the way it was prepared in France. While I was in Paris this last Oct. I had boudin noir in Montmartre. It was delish !

  • Lesia
    January 27, 2014 6:44pm

    We love these sausages in Ukraine. They are called kyshka. In America we get them from Polish deli.

  • Bill King
    January 27, 2014 7:11pm

    Great Welsh boudin made by @trealyfarm and the best Irish by Ashe’s Annascaul, Jack McCarthy in Kanturk and Rosscarberry Recipes in Rosscarberry. All well worth trying and all on the web.

    Damn fine white puddings too.

  • Ria
    January 27, 2014 7:11pm

    Very Well known in Belgium, I eat it with Apple about twice a year and I love it!

  • January 27, 2014 7:12pm

    I love how you point out that the same people who refuse to eat something like say, whole cloves of roasted garlic or raw oysters on the half shell have no problem with the mysterious ingredients and chemicals in processed food.

    And my fiance is continuously trying to get me to like beets, convinced that if I just have them this way or that, I will learn to like them. But I don’t. I just don’t like their taste.

  • Sharon
    January 27, 2014 7:14pm

    Years ago at Louis Szathmary’s wonderful Chicago restaurant, I noticed boudin blanc on the menu. I’d just been reading about sausages, had learned to make Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering for breakfast sausage. I asked if they ever made boudin noir, which I was very curious to try. Louis himself came out to see who wanted to know. He was excited that someone was interested in it and kindly offered to make it for me if I would call ahead. Being an impecunious jeune fille (sp?), alas, I was unable to take him up on it. Now that charcuterie is everywhere, maybe I will get another chance.

  • Kathleen
    January 27, 2014 7:16pm

    My husband, of Polish ancestry, taught me to make blood sausage, known as kishka in Poland. We raised our own beef, and nothing was wasted, not even the blood. Americans have a cultural bias against so many foods. If only they had a bias against waste!

    By the way, the tongue tacos in my adopted home of Mexico are excellent. I try to introduce them to American and Canadian newcomers, but they won’t even try them. They don’t know what they are missing.

  • Charlotte
    January 27, 2014 7:24pm

    >>*I’ve never understood why, if you don’t like something, people say, “You don’t like _______? Well, you’ve never had my __________…..” And I just want to reply, “I don’t want it. Leave me alone.”<<

    I think it comes from either raising..or being raised; parents who spend a great deal of time trying to convince junior that no..really..broccoli IS good. Here; lets drown it in cheese and you'll LOVE it. ::no he won't:::

    My favorite ploy goes something like: Recipe for Brussel Sprouts for Brussel Sprouts Haters. Recipe for Liver for even the most devoted liver hater. I'LL convert 'em!!!

    Why can't we just leave it at–make chicken and corn instead??? Then I won't have to be polite and discreetly puke into my napkin.

    So..having said that. Uhhmm..Dave–on that whole blood sausage thing…

    …could we have hamburgers??

  • Nick
    January 27, 2014 7:27pm

    Can’t really say that boudin noir is rare in France. Maison Pic do a version as do many restaurants in Normandy for example. The market in L’Aigle has quite a few stalls with huge coils of the plumtiousness.
    One of the nicest was at Hotel l’Echo in La Chais Dieu, served on Puy (just down the road) lentils and pan fried apples. Now I think, the lentils are quite a common pairing. The version at Pic had a poached egg too.
    Our English version holds its own too. My local abattoir does a splendid one.

  • Patricia Esparza
    January 27, 2014 7:34pm

    I remember being a child in Guadalajara Mexico, and going to the market where they sold boudin noir, cooked and served on a freshly made corn tortilla with hot salsa and also yerbabuena, (mint) It was good, but I do not believe I would eat it now.
    the name give in Mexico is “rellena”

  • Tricia
    January 27, 2014 7:36pm

    On a mission to buy boudin noir in SF I recently went, of course, to Fatted Calf. None available was the answer – we’ve had a shortage of blood. I was sure he was teasing me but no, it was for real.
    Sure we have an official drought here, but no blood………

    On picky eaters, I have a friend who will not eat anything she could consider as a pet which works out to mean that chicken, turkey, beef and pork are OK but duck, quail, goose, rabbit, lamb are all off limits. I always thought piglets so cute!

  • Peter De Jaegher
    January 27, 2014 7:44pm

    As someone mentioned before, it’s very well know and loved in Belgium. But there’s not one recipe for it. You have to try a lot of different bloodsausages before you find a butcher that prepares them like you want them. I for one hate them with sugar in the recipe.
    I love to eat them baked with apples, or cold on a piece of bread with applesauce.

  • January 27, 2014 7:51pm

    There’s an adorable little crèpe place on Rue St. Jacques just off Port-Royal (next to the Tibetan place where they have awesome mango lassis and salty yak butter tea) that serves a delicious boudin and apple savory crèpe. Come to think of it, that’s my only boudin experience, and I only went to that place once…can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called.

  • Cleo
    January 27, 2014 7:56pm

    Your piece made me chuckle, remembering my first (ONLY) experience w/ Boudin Noir. I had just moved to France, and my linguistic skills were rather, shall we say, faible?
    I was in a loud restaurant with a big group of French friends, and when I enquired about Boudin Noir, all I understood in the response that came my way was the word “saucisson” – sausage. Being a lover of all things bacon and sausage related, I ordered the Boudin Noir. I couldn’t figure out at the time why my French friends were all commending me, calling me “courageuse” and giving me high 5s!
    I almost threw up on the first bite – and they convulsed with laughter.
    Needless to say, I have never attempted it again!
    Your photos did make it look yummy though…

    • January 27, 2014 10:11pm
      David Lebovitz

      Well, at least it was good for the laugh!

  • suedoise
    January 27, 2014 8:22pm

    Go to any Picard – the wonderful deep frozen food store all over France and in some other European countries – get the deep frozen boudin noir sold with apple or onion inside, as inexpensive as like all blood products very filling plus rich in iron and other good things for your health.
    When will you write of the king of sausages: THE SAUCISSE DE TOULOUSE?

  • janele
    January 27, 2014 8:23pm

    David,

    In all of your years living in the Bay Area (I love Top Dog in Berkeley!), did you never have any Filipino food? There is a pork blood stew called dinuguan that we Filipino kids would jokingly call “chocolate rice” to our non-Filipino friends so that they won’t be too scared off.

    I personally love blood sausage. When I had it at my gran-in-law’s place in Belfast, she thought for sure I wouldn’t like it when I tried her Ulster Fry. Taste reminded me so much of dinuguan that I happily ate it, to the horror of my husband who has never liked any British food.

  • Susan
    January 27, 2014 8:24pm

    I keep telling myself that I can’t consider myself a foodie because I’m too picky. I am a very picky eater and it drives my husband crazy. I keep asking him what difference does it make to him? I don’t stop us/him from going to specialty restaurants or ordering whatever foods he wants to try or say how awful I think his choice is, (though sometimes it’s hard to not make a face!) I also find it’s hard for some to not comment when they don’t like what a favorite blogger has chosen to feature. I tell myself that I don’t have to comment about everything and especially if I don’t care for something. But I am, like you, curious about foods I haven’t wanted to try and do want to know why someone ordered what they chose. Sometimes the back stories give the food an appeal that makes me want to take, at least, a no thank you bite!

  • January 27, 2014 8:44pm

    My husband will eat anything “American Style”. Yes, his Mom’s idea of cheese and crackers was a slice of American cheese sliced in quarters on a saltine.
    Now that he works for the Swedes and travels to Germany from time to time, he doesn’t want them to think he’s one of “those American’s” so he will try things I would not have dared to bring into the house for the last 20 years of marriage. I refused to push my tastes on him, so I let him eat what makes him happy but to his surprise, he found out that he loves blood sausage, head cheese and caviar. I grew up eating tripe so I am thrilled he’s discovered the guts to eat the guts. So now, we can order more things on the menu and share them. Pickled tongue anyone?

  • January 27, 2014 8:52pm

    Wonderful post and equally wonderful comments from your readers. I learned a lot.

    I am not an intellectual eater, but a sensual one. If something looks and smells delicious, I will at least try a bite regardless of what it may be. If it is unappetizing even if it’s familiar food, I will forego eating.

    Picky eater can mean different things to different people:

    They don’t eat everything on their plates
    They don’t try new foods
    They insist on having a certain combination of foods, that is, a focus on ‘choice’, something Americans are fond of doing, like having a certain condiment or side dish with a main course.
    They don’t like certain culinary mixtures even if it consists of all familiar, loved foods, for example, unsweetened cocoa powder sprinkled on a root-vegetable flan.
    They prefer a certain way of preparation, like boiled over grilled

    I am beginning to think we all are picky in some way. :-)

  • January 27, 2014 9:02pm

    I’m a Pilates teacher. I have friends from Argentina and blood sausage is always a course in their summer bbq’s. The only course I do not indulge in! Yuck.

  • Jeanette
    January 27, 2014 9:23pm

    Oh boy, I love blood sausage. I have a bias in thinking Hungarians make it best. It is one of those meals that always surface in the winter time. Typically they roast the whole thing, and serve it with mashed potatoes and pickles or Hungarian pickled cabbage. There are several types of blood sausage. They are all delicious. It is a guilty pleasure. I love how some people are so turned off by it. More for me!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • January 27, 2014 9:46pm

    My kids and I love watching Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods! Some of those things don’t look appealing at all (fried tarantulas), but some of the foods do look quite tasty. I would have never gone for boudin noir before, but watching his shows made em a bit more adventurous. I would try that! It might not be something I would eat every day, but I would try it once anyway :)

  • Donna Adams
    January 27, 2014 9:49pm

    Love Boudin Noir with bacon and fried eggs! I was introduced to it by my Polish Mother and Father, for breakfast when Ii was a child.

  • Debbie
    January 27, 2014 9:56pm

    I love your post. I married a Polish man and I will never forget the first time he made me breakfast. Boudin noir, buttered toast, fresh oj strawberries and coffee…what’s a Canadian girl to do…not wanting to offend I tried the boudin and to my surprise, I loved it.

    There has to be a secret to making them though…the European variety is far superior to the kinds I can source in Canada…there also has to be a secret in cooking them. The kind here are at least 2 to 3 inches around and just turn to mush when boiled or sauteed. Sigh…

    The kind we like best when in Paris are the mini ones made by Stohrer…yummy!

  • Philip
    January 27, 2014 10:20pm

    Nice post- it reminded me of how much I like blood sausage. As per a previous comment, the best here in SF is from The Fatted Calf, and because it’s so perishable, usually only available frozen.

    I grew up happily consuming boudin noir, but have never eaten it fried. My grandmother– who grew up just outside of Turin– would poach the sausages whole and serve with them over polenta with caramelized onions and often, other mild pork sausages or boudin blanc.

  • Antonia
    January 27, 2014 10:22pm

    Spaniards still eat lots of blood sausage – morcilla. The best known comes from Burgos and comes mixed with either rice or onion – yes with the sausage mixture – and is usually pan fried till crisp, as David’s photo shows. It is also an ingredient in Cocido Madrileno – a one pot melange of chick peas, various meats and cabbage. It’s a classic. But my favorite morcilla comes from Northern Spain – from Asturias. It’s a must ingredient in their regional dish – Fabada. It’s a much more flavorful and strong morcilla than the better-known variety from Burgos. And yes, it’s greasier, but it’s absolutely delicious. The basic ingredient in Fabada are dry white beans, the size of lima beans, so you can imagine the combination! Don’t miss it David, if you are ever in the region. You won’t be sorry.

  • January 27, 2014 10:29pm
    David Lebovitz

    Antonia: I have a very good friend from that region of Spain and he kept telling me he’d make it for me. And one night, he did! I don’t think he used morcilla in it, but the beans were, indeed, huge!

  • june2
    January 27, 2014 10:50pm

    I think in the US we are squeamish about offal because we intuitively know how unwholesome the quality of ingredients is that are generally available. The only way to eat offal is from organic, naturally raised animals that were lovingly and respectfully cared for. They lived stress-free (our responsibility once we domesticate them), ate their natural diet and roamed and lived natural lives, within the context of a farm.

    Anything raised on a commercial feedlot is intuitively nauseating – for very good reasons. Once I realized this it is easy to see that Americans are not picky – they are SMART and have more intuition than are given credit for…

  • January 27, 2014 11:04pm

    I’ve never understood why we Americans come in for such criticism about being picky eaters, when most of the ones I know are so adventuresome. Most of my friends and I will eat anything that’s not moving and are eager to try new things. I think there’s a connection between this and the stereotype about Americans and sex. Every European I’ve met thinks that Americans are “puritanical,” yet in my experience it’s Europeans who are sexually conservative, while Americans are, well, wild. Maybe you could do something to dispel these odd notions?

    • January 28, 2014 8:55am
      David Lebovitz

      It is funny when people tell me that Americans are Puritans because being from San Francisco, I’ve seen (and heard) it all – often right on the street! (ie: Folsom Street Fair, Bay-to-Breakers, etc) I remember the first time my French partner saw Sex and the City, he was really shocked that there was ample nudity and sex on US television. And even though I’m from San Francisco, I’ve often been surprised at how far some of the television shows go in the US in terms of what they discuss and feature. Maybe I’m more puritanical than I thought! ; )

  • Barbara
    January 27, 2014 11:40pm

    Ah yes! Blood sausage which I love and also grew up with. Unfortunately, now I have to drive 80 miles to the old ethnic Polish neighborhood in the outskirts Cleveland to find it. Another old favorite was Liver rice ring (Hurka) which was liver sausage with rice in it, very tasty

    Back when I was young I don’t think we worried too much about what the animal ate. etc. Because it was a simpler time, a natural time, no hormones, etc. eating offal was a part of life that was just there- waste not want not attitude. Now it’s almost a delicacy.

    I also remember the duck sitting in my grandmother’s hallway around Easter time for the annual making of Czarnina. And, again, head cheese, which I haven’t seen in forever.

    • Donna Adams
      January 28, 2014 12:42am

      Barbara,

      I also remember going to a Detroit Market getting duck blood for Polish Czarnina, Wow that seems grosse now!

  • Jim
    January 28, 2014 1:04am

    I learned to love Blutwurst in Germany when I lived there. One usually found it not in restaurants, but in Weinstuben (wine bar/bistros) all over Germany or the “Ebbelwoistuben” (apple wine bistros) in the Sachsenhausen part of Frankfurt, where it was usually served as part of a Schlachtplatte (lovely word!), a generous plating of various sausages and potatoes with sauerkraut. Somewhat grainy and a bit viscous when cut into, but absolutely delicious!

  • January 28, 2014 1:14am

    I am one of those people who will eat absolutely anything except for weird meats (except for foie gras and monkfish liver because SOGOOD). Part of it is a texture thing and I don’t like things that are excessively chewy, slippery, slimy or…mineral-y tasting. However if someone can promise me this boudin noir sausage does not have the weird mineral taste of cooked liver or some kind of weird texture I might just try it the next time I see it somewhere….I am half sold ;)

  • Nan Pad
    January 28, 2014 1:17am

    As children in South Carolina, we ate them frequently in the 1950s for breakfast, baked, and served with grits. They were, and still are, made locally, and are called “pudding or pudding sausage.” In the ones sold in grocery stores, rice is sometimes added as a component. Delicious.

    I couldn’t believe how impossibly hard to find they were when I moved to San Francisco in the 1970s. I even asked the chef at (the restaurant) Le Central for the name of his supplier but the supplier couldn’t sell them retail to a customer like me. When I lived briefly in London in the 1970s I found wonderful ones imported from Greece.

  • Katy
    January 28, 2014 1:50am

    Oh, black pudding is a staple on a ‘Full English’, ‘Full Scottish’ or ‘Full Welsh’ breakfast (not the best quality, as the entire meal has to be swimming grease) and also in UK restaurants with scallops and pancetta/bacon. I’m not a fan, but then I’m not a fan of a lot of meat, so I hope it doesn’t take it personally!

  • January 28, 2014 1:59am

    I was served a plate of delicious homemade sausages at Bronwyn (a fabulous new restaurant in Somerville, MA) on Saturday night and I couldn’t bring myself to taste the blood sausage. I wish I was more adventurous but my brain seems to be dominant over my stomach and I don’t like the thought of eating blood. You could tell me it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted and I still wouldn’t be the least bit tempted.

  • janice burgan
    January 28, 2014 2:55am

    This is usually the first thing ma belle mere prepares for us when we visit. She fries them with apples from her trees and serves with maille mustard. In May we were treated to my niece’s homemade boudin noir from there own pig….what a difference in flavor…outstanding. We joke that we could live on boudin noir, sandwich americain, and fromage every day we’re there. Can’t wait to go back again next year!!!!!

  • January 28, 2014 3:30am

    I love blood products (that sounds wrong), and I was actually planning on writing a post about soon dae on my blog (bit behind). Have you had the korean version of blood sausage? Next to Taiwanese pork blood cakes, they are my fave.

  • Richard
    January 28, 2014 5:52am

    I understand pork blood can not be sold in the states
    does anyone here know why?

  • January 28, 2014 7:42am

    A question for you David : As much as I like Terroirs d’avenir rue du Nil for vegetables and fish , I find the butcher outrageously priced. What do you think of Tribolet at the other end of Montorgueil ?

    A few years ago I had an excellent black pudding and mashed potato in Cambridge UK. So I’d say that black pudding, boudin, blends well with apples of course but also with a good homemade “purée” and why not Pumpkin purée or sweet potatoes…
    Whenever I serve a pumpkin soup with trimmings , boudin noir is often one of them.( also foie gras, chesnut pancakes… they all blend well)

    Would enjoy your feed back if you have time…

    martinn

    • January 28, 2014 8:52am
      David Lebovitz

      I actually don’t think Terroirs d’Avenir is all that expensive, considering they carefully source the meat so you know what you are buying is of good-quality and they buy and support local or small producers – they’re not just buying stuff from a wholesaler. These 2 sausages were €7,60 for the two, which would be ample enough to feed (at least) two people. (Tip: They are one of the few places in Paris to have the true jambon de Paris, and I bought about 10 slices for around €1 each; a nearby restaurant that features food from the ‘terroir’ of Paris sells it for €4/slice!) – I have shopped at Tribolet, which is certainly a nice butcher shop as well.

      • January 28, 2014 9:21am

        Thanks David for taking time to answer my questions.
        I’ll try again Terroirs d’avenir butcher but I suspect you had a very friendly tariff :-)
        restaurant : you are talking about Frenchie I suppose and Frenchie -to- go ? Thanks to Gregory Marchand rue du Nil became the Gourmet and Quality street for the Montorgueil area.
        I understand you prefer Terroirs d’avenir but you do not rule out Tribolet.

        Thanks and bon Appétit
        Martine

        • January 28, 2014 9:27am
          David Lebovitz

          I didn’t, and don’t, get a ‘special price’ at Terroirs d’Avenir – the boudins noir were €21,90/kg, and the Prince de Paris jambon was €19,30/kg.

  • January 28, 2014 7:52am

    Ah forgot about eating “weird” stuff … It is weird as long as you have not been raised with it..
    That’s why people always brag about their grand’ma cooking. Childhood palate …
    Although I still do not like gefelte fish …
    but I like snails and frogs … or maybe the garlicky sauce coming with them ?
    Have an awful childhood memory with Swiss chard so cannot imagine myself eating some, the mere idea of it makes me sick. Although I love artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes.

    I know some people eat insects. I am hesitant to try but I’d say if they like their delicacies, why not giving it a try ? Just a try with no prejudice …
    After it would be my choice to like it or not …

  • Christina Imm
    January 28, 2014 8:22am

    Thank you for discussing this delicious subject. If you are in the Córdoba region of Spain do try the “morcilla chorizada”, a morcilla that has been cured and dried like Spanish chorizo. It is a very rare treat!

  • January 28, 2014 9:27am

    Nice subject about American puritanism versus sex and nudity ? Have you seen Leonardo di Caprio in Wolf of Wall Street ?

  • JP
    January 28, 2014 12:52pm

    Ah! Boudin noir has been my great discovery this time around in Paris. I usually slow-fry some sliced apples, and add a sprinkling of sugar, some balsamic vinegar or perhaps some vermouth if I have any around for extra caramelization. I have to say though, my boudins, which I usually just get from monop, are much too soft to be sliced and fried like that—I believe they would just turn into mush if I tried. I was under the impression that they were to be heated through in some boiled (but not boiling) water and then lightly fried, whole, in a frying pan? Are the ones pictured here harder?

  • Rose
    January 28, 2014 4:24pm

    I love blood sausage. When I was a child, my mother & her sisters would get together to make it. I wouldn’t touch it then. Now, I try to have it once or twice whenever I’m in France. Once after ordering (& obviously American), I was asked if I knew what I had ordered. I wish I could find it locally..

  • January 28, 2014 7:10pm

    It is common in Québec, but except in restaurants such as Au Pied du Cochon that do traditional local food, not as popular as it used to be. I can eat it, but it is not one of my favourite offal preparations.

  • January 28, 2014 7:12pm

    I usually avoid eating blood in any kind of forms because I don’t like the taste. The one I usually come across is the Chinese style hot pot with intestine and blood. Ugh. :S

    Anyway, one day, I tried a Korean blood sausage (soondae) by mistake. They gave out samples at H-Mart (Korean grocery store) and I took one (I love those samples just like at Costco lol). Turned out it is a blood sausage and I was stunned for a second because I like it haha. They mixed blood and rice (or bean thread or potato or buckwheat?) noodle for the sausage. They also pan fried it, although you could order it in other ways at the restaurant like soup and stir fries.

  • Elizabeth
    January 28, 2014 8:11pm

    the boudin noir looks great (I especially like the kind at verre volé that comes in a big block with crispy edges and a soft center!) but I have to ask: where, oh where, did you find a cast-iron skillet in Paris? Mine is languishing in storage in Texas and I would love to have one here…

    • January 28, 2014 8:27pm

      to Elizabeth,

      I am almost sure you can find such a skillet at one of Les Halles professional utensils stores (Dehillerin, Mora, Simon ..)
      I just bought a nice Staub cast iron pot in Simon rue Montmartre. (designed as a pumpkin, so can go from stove to table as it is really beautiful).
      martinn

  • Tammy
    January 28, 2014 9:13pm

    Ha!
    Andrew who? This guy doesn’t really know food. It’s pure entertainment with no depth. America is a little tired of Andrew Z.

  • January 28, 2014 9:21pm

    I love to eat and I’ll try most anything, which led me to my first and only encounter with black pudding in Scotland a few years back. I just didn’t get it. It tasted awful. Maybe its an acquired taste, but really, what’s the point? You eat it so you can be part of the exclusive club that can stomach it? I use to hate the taste of whiskey. But I acquired a taste for it because just two fingers will give you a nice warm buzz. I see no such value in blood sausage..

  • Mary Jo Beniger
    January 28, 2014 9:27pm

    As a child growing up Blood Suasage, fried crisp was a special treat on Saturday Evening in our house. It was served with fried potatoes and green beans with browned butter.

    Another sausage that was loved by all was Wrindawurst, but it was always
    hard to find this as a lean meat. It too was fried crisp as the casing would break.

    As for Hot Dogs, natural casing is a must, and those by Old Wisconsin are just bursting with flavor. Cooked on a stick over a wood fire and dipped in Ketchup and mustard (with horseraddish) is a must..

  • January 29, 2014 3:12am

    As a kid, hot dogs freaked me out, and it’s only been in the last five years of my adult life when I’ve eaten them (if you don’t count the pigs in blankets from my childhood suburban Christmas parties… oh, the persuasive power of puff pastry). I devour chorizo, merguez, saucisson… any kind of sausage with discernable bits… it’s the smoothness of hot dogs that freaks me out! But my boyfriend, who grew up in Hawaii, keeps pushing me to eat the hot dogs at Costco, which he claims are the best. Your mention made me laugh… I guess it’s true! And now I’ll have to try blood sausage.

  • January 29, 2014 5:25am

    You’re brave. Not sure I could do this particular sausage. But you never know after a few glasses of wine!

  • Magdalena
    January 29, 2014 5:28am

    I love a good blood sausage! I live in the US now but I’m from Poland, and both my grandmothers used to make blood sausages after butchering a pig. We call it “kaszanka”; the name is not derived from blood (krew) but from the buckwheat (kasza) that’s mixed in with the blood. The sausage should be peppery and not too thick. We either heated them up whole by boiling gently in water or sliced and fried them. In Poland you can buy blood sausage at every butcher’s; here in the US I sometimes find them at Dominican restaurants. They have rice instead of buckwheat but they are spicy and delicious.

  • January 29, 2014 6:27am

    I was just contemplating blood sausage at Marin Sun Farms the other day. Not considering purchasing, just sort of looking a little longer. I’m not sure when I’ll have the courage for actual consumption though. I’ve been eating liver pate for over a year because Sally Fallon wrote that I should as a nursing mom. I’m still not that keen on it. But I must admit I feel a strange sense of accomplishment for facing down my lack of enthusiasm. Anyway, baby steps. Within a very safe environment. Someday I hope to travel with the family for an extended period, and then all bets are off….

  • January 29, 2014 9:37am

    I love black pudding, blood sausage, noir boudin or whatever it is called depending on where you are in the world. Hurka in Hungary! Shanghai the only place I’ve lived in which doesn’t seem to have a version. here they make the blood into a jelly to add to soups, and no it doesn’t melt down you are just faced with cubes of jellied blood. Not for me.

  • Marta
    January 29, 2014 3:30pm

    Boudin Noir is best with spicy mustard not apples :)

  • January 29, 2014 5:20pm

    I’m not much of a nose to tail guy, myself. I remember ordering andouillette once when in Paris thinking that it must be somewhat related to andouille sausages which I love. Oh how wrong I was. Just the smell of the chitterling sausages served me was enough to make me want to wretch at the table. I forced myself to take a bite, but couldn’t get down more than one. Ugh….

  • Liza in Ann Arbor
    January 29, 2014 5:51pm

    Growing up with a vegetarian dad, I tend to be wary of certain unusual meats myself. In Louisiana they have a different kind of boudin, which the bf always orders when we’re there. He finally convinced me to try it and it was delicious (even though I was squeamish about it). And David, I’m sure there’s plenty of food nerds (myself included) that would be swarming to see you cook rather than the food networks host du jour! Glad to hear he’s cool though.

  • Lois Quick
    January 29, 2014 7:40pm

    1990, bistro on Rue du Petit Musc – I ordered a boudin noir and it was sublime. Then had a wonderful boudin noir at Bouchon in Yountville – so good that it’s all I’ll ever order there. Now, when Fatted Calf has them, I cannot believe my good fortune. It’s wonderful to live where I can walk to FC and see a pig’s head in the case – and they offer to split it for me so I can make a huge pot of posole. So very fortunate – thank you for the lovely memories with this post.

  • Katharina
    January 30, 2014 1:42pm

    I really do suggest you should try them with mashed potatoes and endivia, it’s heaven. It’s eaten like that here in Germany. And even though I never thought it should be eaten any other way I have to admit that it’s also delicious on a warm lentil salad. But most people around here will not eat it at all any more, so it’s unfortunately rather hard to get your hands on any kind of blood sausage.

  • Joy
    January 31, 2014 9:29pm

    *I’ve never understood why, if you don’t like something, people say, “You don’t like _______? Well, you’ve never had my __________…..” And I just want to reply, “I don’t want it. Leave me alone.”

    You’re always so generous and accommodating, so I’m really curious what you don’t like :)

  • February 1, 2014 11:00pm

    I’ve always loved morcilla. It’s traditional in Spain (or at least in my house) to sprinkle flour on both sides before you fry them, I guess it makes them crispier.

  • Markinvt
    February 3, 2014 10:14am

    I had never tried boudin noir until I was in Paris last November and had it at Chez Graff as a first course at the recommendation of the waiter. It was amazing, with a little Granny Smith jam on the side. Served as generous 3-4″ discs unlike the sausages you usually see. Would have again tomorrow. Would give anything to find in New England!

  • Marie
    February 4, 2014 1:56pm

    Hi David!
    Connaissez-vous le boudin galabar ? C’est une spécialité du sud-ouest….
    D’une façon générale, le boudin doit être artisanal et d’excellente qualité. Dès que c’est industriel, c’est immonde …
    Personnellement , je l’aime beaucoup avec des pommes acides sautées mais surtout avec du coing ( quince)…..
    Have a nice day :-)

  • Evie
    February 4, 2014 6:40pm

    Well, thank goodness there is one other person in the world who likes a little hot dog with their mustard, ketchup, relish and lotsa onions at Costco!!

  • Kathleen
    February 6, 2014 2:56am

    I grew up eating blood sausage in Indiana and I still enjoy the varieties that I find while traveling. Back home we sprinkled it with a little vinegar… Yum tomorrow I search the shops.

  • Jessica
    February 6, 2014 6:14am

    This post brings back fond memories of my trip to Paris, now almost 10 years ago (yikes!). I was visiting a friend who was studying abroad and stayed with her lovely host family. The evening I arrived her host-mother had prepared a delicious dinner of what I later found out was boudin noir and sauteed apples. She wouldn’t tell us American girls what we were eating (though I quickly figured it out), but it was a wonderful meal. Now whenever I have the opportunity to enjoy boudin noir I do so. Most recently, this was in Barcelona. The only time I’ve seen them on a menu in the US was at Lüke in New Orleans, but sadly they were out that day! I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.

  • Brittany
    February 6, 2014 5:41pm

    David, coming from San Francisco to Paris in a week and then again over Christmas. Wondering if many restaurants stay open or do a Christmas dinner? If you know any? Can swap for information? PB? Specific goodies from SF? Here you must try Clonakilty Black Pudding from Co Cork in Ireland. DELICIOUS if you can get your hands on some! Zimmerman is a Minnesotan as well I believe? Sure we eat Lutafisk! Another must try ; )

    • February 6, 2014 5:49pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t need anything from the states, but many places in Paris do close for the holidays. Since they’re not for 11 months away, it’s not possible to say what is open, but my friends at Parisbymouth.com publish a list before Christmas and New Year’s, noting which places stay open.

    • February 6, 2014 6:08pm

      David if you allow me, some extra answer to Brittany. As a Parisian I avoid going to restaurants on Xmas or New Year’s eve. The good ones are closed most of the time, and most of those that are open charge a lot for poor food , get some confetis.. Maybe not the atmosphere you are looking for.
      I always treat my children to a nice outing on the 30th of December. That’s better ( 2 years ago we indulged in Jean François Piège and loved it, one year it was at 1728 by La Madeleine) and on the 31st we all go to friends’, buy some good food at nice caterers, oysters, champagne … but avoid restaurants.
      David I hope you agree with this …

      • Brittany
        February 6, 2014 6:25pm

        Ah cheers thanks so much for the tips! Looking to avoid crowds and any sort tourist at the holidays traps! Will just get some local bits and cook a Christmas meal with champagne in our wee Paris holiday apartment. Go for a stroll and work off the dinner! Or open a second bottle and enjoy ourselves…Sounds perfect so, that’s exactly what I needed to hear! Thanks again David and Martin. Can’t wait to get my hands on some hot cocoa and pastries!

        • February 6, 2014 6:37pm

          Thanks Brittany … I am sure David could recommend many good shops to buy from… I can help a little bit.
          David, I just strolled the 9th most of the day with some friends from Seattle, unfortunately at one point it was raining so much that it was not so nice. We ate at La Regalade conservatoire always nice food and smiling welcome ; then we wanted to buy some sandwiches at Castro on rue Cadet following your advice, but they were closed ..; window looked so appetizing… We’ll try another time …

          • Brittany
            February 6, 2014 7:24pm

            All sounds good. Really looking forward to check out how much Marais has changed. Think apartment is in the 5th. Heading to MORA in the 13th to hopefully help fill up luggage for the return and Patisserie Viennoise in the 8th for hot cocoa. A market recommendation would be brilliant, or will just wander around and find my own vegetables and cheeses. Not sure what cookery the apartment will have. Am content with the company and strolling the city, getting lost is my favorite part of any holiday. Thanks again for the recommendations! So kind of you!

          • February 6, 2014 7:33pm

            Love Mora, Dehillerin in the First ( are we talking about the same thing ? cooking utensils for professionals ? ) as they are in my area. for the rest, I will let David answer….
            Enjoy Paris, your hot cocoa ( at Angelina’s?or Pâtisserie Viennoise in the 6th ), your markets, food …

  • paule caillat
    February 11, 2014 6:42pm

    David,

    years ago at the Pike Street market in Seattle they sold what they called Boudin Noir but it was … blanc. I think the girl was from Louisiana. Strange that they reversed the color.

    Thank you for admitting you are a picky eater. So am I and I will certainly not try “just anything”, even just once.

    Boudin noir is what americans call an acquired taste. I respect the ones who did not acquire it.

    Rognons de veau is another food considered strange. Here it is a delicacy (had it for lunch today, really delicious, my american friend tried it and liked it). You should write about it some day.

    Paule

  • February 18, 2014 9:06pm

    I don’t really get it why it seems to be such a overcoming to try new things. I mean you can spit it out if you don’t like it. Okay maybe it’s because I’m Asian and we eat a lot of weird things…

    I’m not judging or anything just curious.

    • Mary Jo Beniger
      February 18, 2014 11:14pm

      So surprised that everyone is calling this “new”. We called it blood sausage, and it was a regular at our house. I grew up with it. With the “latest” being use all of the animal, no wastiing, That is how it was in the 40’s and 50’s.
      What has happened to make people so squemish about food? Just so hard to believe.
      These items were made as part of butchering.