What does this have to do with charcuterie, you may wonder. The bottle is empty, the glass is full. This is all post-processing refreshment, reinforcement, renewal. Wish you (at least one of you) were here to help me out! Instead, alone, this is what my kitchen looks like
A fucking abbatoir, that's what. If you're thinking of making boudin noir, plan to have someone else to help you. Someone weird, who loves blood all over the place. Someone with a strong stomach. Someone who loves to clean up. Like, in my case, my husband is out of town. You know how sausage goes better with four hands? Well, my stuffmeister husband is out of town, and I had to go it alone tonight, because I have a "girl chef" dinner party tomorrow and need to get this sausage on the road. Me, I normally don't drink a lot of straight Scotch, but tonight, if the bottle weren't empty, I'd be drinking more. Actually, I am drinking more, but I've switched to bourbon. It's that bad.
Ok, so let's start from the beginning. Maybe my "small dice" is not small enough, but here's how the mix looked when I first started, following the directions closely, with the exception that I couldn't find any fresh chervil, so I subbed a bit of fennel pollen.
Utterly gross, right? You're supposed to taste it for seasoning by frying up a bit. I didn't want to get another pan dirty - little did I know - so I microwaved a portion. I'll spare you the picture of the micro'ed sample, but suffice it to say that I had to go sit in the comfy chair and take a few deep breaths before I could even bring myself to put some in my mouth. It looked like cat food. Way worse than cat food. Now, I like blood sausage. I've eaten it in two or three countries and loved it. But this boudin noir looked horrifying. If you think it looks bad raw, just be grateful that I'm sparing you a picture of how it looked after being zapped in the micro.
Hey, guess what, it tastes good! One important thing - I used the Asian blood product, which has water and salt added. After I weighed out the salt called for in the recipe, an intelligent little voice in my head said "wait, this blood has added salt!" So, I added only about 1/4 - 1/3 of the salt called for in the recipe. That was already enough, when I tasted. If you're getting that same Asian blood, with water and salt added, be very careful when you add additional salt!
Ok, more deep breaths, let's have a go with the immersion blender. When I've eaten blood sausage before, it had a pleasingly smooth texture. So I had at it with the immersion blender until it was a lot smoother, but still with a few bits left to provide definition, even though it looked more horrifying than ever.
See what I mean? But hey, I have an sort of emulsion, and I'm ready to stuff. The trouble is, I have no wide-mouthed funnel. Ok, my husband isn't here to solve this problem, so I take a chef's knife and an extra funnel and give it a mighty whackl. Voila, wide-mouthed funnel. Oh, the cut's not straight? Drat. So now I need duct tape. That's what a guy would do, right? Duct tape the sucker to one of the stuffer tubes? Rats, where has he put the duct tape? Ok, here's some shipping tape, why wouldn't that work? See where this is going? I get so enamoured of my improved stuffing tool that I forget that nothing's holding the casing onto the tube. Oh my god, the casing slips off the tube and the blood goop is running out all over the place
I take a picture of how clean I am personally, just to make myself feel better.
Lots more deep breaths. I finally get the stuff into the casings, and rinsed off.
Not too terrible, right? But now, the sausage doesn't fit into the fucking pan. I only made half the recipe, and I have the big Le Creuset saute pan, and I have it at 170 degrees, which in itself is an issue, and it's way too much sausage for the pan.
Crap, now what? I can't cope. It's too much, I feel faint. I let it cook as best it can. I come back every so often to try to turn the sausages, to ensure even cooking. Bloody water splashes all over the floor and the cabinets. What am I, totally fucking crazy? Evidently.
Finally, the sausage seems to be about 150, although not in every part. I surrender, and set the oven for 170. After 15 minutes in there, we have sausage.
I put it into the fridge, and open the liquor cabinet. It'll chill, and so will I. Tomorrow, I'll probably saute it up, in slices. If I don't feed it all to the cats. We'll see. And I'll let you know.