October 28, 2020

Taste of the Caribbean: the blood and guts treat that is black pudding


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom Steve, Uncommon Caribbean

In our ancestral home of Trinidad & Tobago, and other parts of the Caribbean, this dark and lovely treat is traditionally served around the Christmas holidays. Its primary contents, though, make it especially ideal for Halloween…

Black pudding, as you can see, is not really pudding at all… at least not in the form that most of us know pudding to embody. It is, indeed, a sausage – a tubular tangle of special herbs, spices, rice (sometimes), potatoes (other times), and, um, blood packaged neatly in, err, intestines.

Yeah, it’s an acquired taste, one that I must admit never caught on with me. I’m in the minority, though, as just about anywhere you go in the Caribbean (and much of the world) you can find black pudding in some form, under some name on many a menu.

In Puerto Rico and the rest of Latin America, it’s called morcilla. In Martinique and other French islands, it’s boudin antillais. In the Dutch Caribbean, you might see it listed as bloedwurst, carrying forward the same name used back in the Netherlands.

Black pudding is the name you’ll see and hear throughout much of the English-speaking Caribbean, though I can remember my parents also referring to it as blood pudding from time-to-time.

The version pictured above was made in the traditional Trini style, employing the blood and intestines of a pig, though you might find cow or goat on your travels.

The manner in which black pudding is consumed also varies across the region.

In Trinidad, the popular accompaniment is hops bread. In Guyana, you won’t see too many people enjoying black pudding without a savory pickle known simply as a sour. In Barbados, it’s often served with souse for a double-dose of exotic eats!

So, should you try black pudding next time you’re in the Caribbean? It’s hard for me to say yes, but if you like to take your taste buds to exotic extremes on your travels, there hardly a better way to go… especially if you have a little Soucouyant in you…

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EDITOR: I am English and I was brought up on English/Irish black pudding and it was part of the traditional English/Irish fried breakfast ate with bacon, tomato, eggs and fried bread.

The black pudding I knew was also known as blood sausage, and was made of curdled and boiled pig blood, mixed with chunks of pork fat (for texture and juiciness) and spices, then stuffed into a sausage casing. When served sliced and grilled it has a peculiar grainy texture all its own. It was perfectly black (except for the chunks of fat) and was really quite delicious.

We also had white pudding that is similar to black pudding without the blood. It consisted of pork meat and fat, suet, bread, and oatmeal formed into the shape of a large sausage. Some recipes called for a binding agent that comprised sheep’s brain!


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