Feedback on Blood Sausage

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ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
When you've stuffed a casing with your blood sausage filling, lace it with a thick cord so it won't split.

About a year ago in MOTHER EARTH NEWS Mr. and Mrs. John Gray asked how to make
blood sausage (also called blood pudding).

At hog-slaughtering time, have ready a cup and a half of
partially cooked rice or barley per expected gallon of
blood. (Fifty years ago we used soy flour and a small
amount of wheat flour for a binder.) For each gallon of
blood, dice into quarter-inch or so squares one pound of
baked or boiled ham fat or dry salt fatback (Speck
in German) and an equal amount of cured and cooked hog
tongue. Lay out coriander, allspice, cumin or related
seeds, coarse pepper, and salt.

(The spicing of any sausage is a matter of individual
or family preference, and Rolf’s recipe resembles most such
formulas in not specifying amounts. Your best bet is to
overseason your first batch, keeping in mind that
blood contains salt and that the cured meats contribute
still more. Then cook a small sample of the filling, taste
it, and adjust the flavor accordingly. Be sure to keep
records to guide your future attempts. –MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

)

When you hoist the pig up in the air by its leg to stick
it, catch the blood in a bucket. Then stir the fluid with
your hand while it’s warm. Once you gather a bit of the
fiber on your palm, the coagulant will start accumulating
in your hand. This takes a while. Stir and stir until you
have a sphere between softball and tennis ball size
(gathered from three to four gallons of blood). Mix this
well with the Speck, spices, and other ingredients
and stuff the filling into casings. Lace the pudding with a
thick cord so it won’t split.

For casings you can use the bung gut of the animal you just
slaughtered. Make sure the intestine is cleaned thoroughly
(turn it inside out over your hand) and save the
surrounding fat to render for tallow. (You may want to keep
gut from your beef slaughter for this purpose, since a
pig’s intestinal wall breaks more readily.) Use the large
end for the blood pudding; the middle width is kept
for leona and goose liver sausages. We used to stuff little
pork sausages and wieners into sheep casings, but these
days U.S.-produced sheep gut generally splits. What is used
comes from Australia and New Zealand.

You may prefer to get casing from a butchers’ supply house:
a “hank” is about the amount of gut one animal contains.
Soak salted gut approximately five hours in warm water
before filling. If you don’t want to use natural casing,
here’s an alternative: When grandmother made
Blutwurst in the copper washboiler on the kitchen
stove, she would cook it in salt sacks or muslin sewed into
bags measuring 5 by 15 inches.

When the puddings are stuffed, cook them several hours just
short of a boil. Test them with a wooden skewer . . . the
sausage is done when the filling doesn’t bubble through the
hole. Let the sausages hang free (as on poles across
sawhorses) until they’re dry and cooled before
refrigerating. Formerly, we’d store puddings in a
well-vented attic, where they’d keep six or seven months.
If you want them to have a smoky flavor and a slightly
lengthened storage life, put the puddings in the top of the
smokehouse several days to a week. Don’t let them get hot
again. Corncobs, for instance, make cool smoke.

(For a slightly different version of Blutwurst,
see “A Blood Sausage Recipe, How to Buy Cheap Vegetables and Home Baking Tips.”)

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