Leave the beautiful region of Calabria and travel north to the much beloved Tuscany or Toscana and you’ll find biroldo or sanguinaccio – a traditional blood-based salumi. Biroldo is a pork blood sausage and you’ll often find it infused with raisins, pine nuts and cinnamon or flavored with fennel (blood sausage is also referred to sanguinaccio in many part of Italy).
Most food cultures have a variation of blood sausage including black pudding in England, Boudin in France, blutwurst in Germany, morcilla in Spain or Portugal, blodkorv and blodpudding in Sweden and Finland, sundae or soondae in Korea, and moronga in Mexico. Blood sausage is a staple throughout the world and it’s beginning to make strides in the US thanks to the nose-to-tail movement.
Our version of blood sausage is made possible via our esteemed guest blogger and culinary superstar, Dr. K. Dr. K.’s blood sausage is a slight variation on the recipe found in the wonderful book, ” The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home”
To begin, secure two pounds of pork belly (and finely dice). Add three pounds of blood. Squish the mixture with your hands (don’t worry, it’s not as gross as you think) and add one teaspoon of InstaCure number one (a salt and sodium nitrate mix used in many curing procedures and optional here; don’t worry there’s nothing wrong with sodium nitrate so don’t buy into the hype), pepper, nutmeg, thyme, and 1 cup of sauteed red onion . Next, pour the mixture into hog casings (you can find casings and sodium nitrate mix at Butcher and Packer, we use the 38/40 mm variety casing). You can poach the sausage for 25 minutes and then fry in large pan prior to serving.
Some notes via Dr. K.: Since he was going for a Latin flavor profile, he used oregano instead of thyme, and added several tablespoons of paprika (including smoked paprika [pimenton]) to the mixture. He scaled his quantities up about 25% from our recipe/process, but otherwise it was basically a variation on The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home recipe . He did not use rice or any other fillers, nor did he complete the variations with pinenuts, raisins, chocolate, sugar. He did use the InstaCare pink salt as they did mention, but this is optional.
Be warned, blood can and does splatter, and your kitchen may very well look like a crime scene by the time you’re done.
Pig’s blood may not be the easiest thing to source and if you can’t get it directly from a local farmer you’ve struck gold, an Asian grocery or your local Chinatown might be your best bet if a local farm is out of the question. The fresher the blood the better and you can use any other blood if that’s available as well (but Dr. K. suggests avoiding your local Red Cross chapter).