Blood sausages are sausages filled with blood that are cooked or dried and mixed with a filler until they are thick enough to congeal when cooled.
The dish is found world-wide. Pig, cattle, sheep, duck, and goat blood can be used depending on different countries.
In Europe and the Americas, typical fillers include meat, fat, suet, bread, cornmeal, onion, chestnuts, barley, and oatmeal. In Spain, Portugal, and Asia, potato is often replaced by rice. In Kenya fillers are fresh minced goat or beef, fat, and red onions.
Across Asia, various people create food from congealed animal blood. Most of these food types do not have casing and might be considered a version of sliced sausage.
China and Taiwan
In the Chinese cultures, whole coagulated blood is fried or steamed as a snack or cooked in a hot pot. In mainland China, “blood tofu” (Chinese: 血豆腐; pinyin: xuě dòufǔ), or “red tofu” (Chinese: 红豆腐; pinyin: hóng dòufǔ), is most often made with pig’s or duck’s blood, although chicken’s or cow’s blood may also be used. Like the above dishes, this has no casing but is simply cut into rectangular pieces and cooked. In the Northeast China, the “blood sausage” is a traditional food which is cooked with sheep or goat blood. In resource-poor Tibet, congealed yak’s blood is a traditional food. In Hong Kong, the dish is only made with pig’s blood and simply called “pig red” (Chinese: 豬紅). In Taiwan, “pig’s blood cake” (Chinese: 豬血糕; pinyin: zhū xuě gāo; Zhuyin Fuhao: ㄓㄨˉ ㄒㄧㄝˇ ㄍㄠˉ) or “rice blood cake”(Chinese: 米血糕; Zhuyin Fuhao: ㄇㄧˇ ㄒㄧㄝˇ ㄍㄠˉ), made of pork blood and sticky rice is served on a popsicle stick is a very popular snack at local night markets in Taiwan.
Blood sausage is popular in Mongolia. In Mongolia a special method of killing sheep was made mandatory by Genghis Khan to save blood for sausage. It appears in the Yasa and is still used today.
In Penang or other northern states, “pig red” (Chinese: 猪红; pinyin: zhū hóng or in Penang Hokkien “too ung”) is sometimes served with their traditional dish, “laksa” or curry noodles. It can also be mixed with some traditional Hokkien dishes as well.
In Tibetan cuisine, sausages or gyurma refer to blood sausages and are made with yak or sheep’s blood which may or may not include either rice or roasted barley flour as filler. The sausage uses natural casing employing the use of yak or sheep’s intestine.
A similar dish from the Philippines, dinuguan (pork-blood stew, from the word dugo meaning “blood”) is a stew consisting of diced beef or pork and organs with pork or beef blood simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of blood, salt, pepper, spices, garlic, onions, hot chili and vinegar. Because the stew is thick and dark, the euphemism “chocolate meat” was coined. Dinuguan is often served with white rice or a Philippine rice cake called puto. It has regional names and varieties.
Similar to dinuguan, pinuneg, or penuneng is a native blood sausage composed of minced pork and innards prepared in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines. Another similar dish is the popular “betamax”, pieces of grilled coagulated chicken or pork blood sold in streets across the country, named for its resemblance to the video recording storage medium created by Sony.
This dish, dinuguan, is also known in Java as saren, which is made with chicken’s or pig’s blood.
Vietnamese ‘dồi tiết’ (Northern) or ‘dồi huyết’ (Southern) is blood sausage, boiled or fried, made with pork blood, pork fat, basil.
In Thai cuisine sai krok lueat (Thai: ไส้กรอกเลือด) is a blood sausage (Thai: sai krok = sausage, Thai: lueat = blood), often served sliced and accompanied by a spicy dipping sauce. “Blood tofu” is simply called lueat (Thai: เลือด, blood) in Thailand. This can be used in many Thai dishes such as in noodle soups, Thai curries, or as an addition to certain rice dishes such as Khao man kai.
The majority of Korea’s sundae (순대) can be categorised as blood sausage. The most common type of soondae is made of potato noodle (dangmyeon), barley, and pig’s blood but some variants contain sesame leaves, green onion, fermented soy paste (doenjang), sweet rice, kimchi, bean sprouts, in addition to the common ingredients.
United Kingdom and Ireland
Black pudding in the United Kingdom is generally made from pork blood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal. In the past it was occasionally flavoured with Pennyroyal, differing from continental European versions in its relatively limited range of ingredients and reliance on oatmeal and barley instead of onions to absorb the blood. It can be eaten uncooked, but is often grilled, fried or boiled in its skin.
In the United Kingdom, black pudding is considered a delicacy in the Black Country and the North West, especially in Lancashire, in particular the towns of Bury and Ramsbottom home of The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, where it is sometimes boiled and served with malt vinegar out of paper wrapping.
Black puddings are also served sliced and fried or grilled as part of a traditional full breakfast throughout the UK and Ireland, a tradition which followed the emigrants around the world and is now part of the local cuisine in Australia, New Zealand, and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The further addition of the similar white pudding is an important feature of the traditional Northumbrian, Scottish, Irish and Newfoundland breakfast. Black and white pudding, as well as a third variant red pudding is served battered at chip shops in England and Scotland as an alternative to fish and chips.
While the phrase “blood sausage” in English is understood in Britain, it is never used unless in the context of depicting foreign usage (e.g., in the story “The Name-Day” by Saki), or when describing similar blood-based sausages elsewhere in the world.
Germany and Austria
The most common variant of German Blutwurst is made from pork rind, pork blood and regionally different fillers such as barley. Though already cooked and “ready to eat” it is sometimes served warm, similar to the usage in France. In the Rhineland, where it is also traditionally made from horse meat, fried Blutwurst is a part of various dishes. In particular in Cologne, the traditional Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth) combines apple sauce, mashed potatoes and Blutwurst served hot on one plate. In Berlin, hot Blutwurst mixed together with liverwurst and potatoes is called “Tote Oma” (“Dead Grandma”).
Other German variants are Zungenwurst, which is Blutwurst mixed with pieces of pickled ox’s tongue and Beutelwurst which is pressed in a linen or paper bag (Beutel). A variety of Blutwurst, the Rotwurst from Thuringia (Thüringer Rotwurst) has geographical indication protection under EU law, with PGI status. Kartoffelwurst (potato sausage) is a post-World War II variety popular in the Palatinate, a fat-reduced version of Blutwurst using potato cubes instead of bacon.
In Austria it is often prepared in a dish known as Blunzngröstl, which consists of pan-fried potatoes and blood sausage. This is usually served with freshly grated horseradish.
In France, boudin is traditionally prepared in charcuteries, shops that prepare mainly pork products (and sometimes duck and game), but also sell smoked and dried sausages, pâtés, and terrines, along with prepared salads. It is usually called boudin noir, is often made with cream and has apples or onions as a filler. It is generally served with either cooked apples, mashed potatoes or both, and is appreciated by combining either the apples or mashed potatoes with each bite of boudin, which has been gently heated and browned in butter. In France also, there are many regional different Boudins Noirs’ such as the large ‘Boudin du Béarn with pork meat pieces eaten usually cold. The French Confrérie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin (Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage Tasting) in Mortagne-au-Perche in southern Normandy holds an annual contest of international blood sausage specialities.
In Belgium and the Netherlands, bloedworst or beuling is sold either in 10 cm slices, or individual sausages the size of a banana. It is generally pan fried; sometimes apples are cooked alongside or on top of the pieces. It is also eaten with apple sauce, brown sugar or syrup. As a cold cut, thin slices are eaten as a sandwich topping. Green cabbage is one of the ingredients in Luxembourg’s träipen which are also served pan fried with apple sauce.
In Italy, and more precisely in Tuscany, buristo is a sausage made in the stomach of pork with pork blood and fat. It is not reheated and is often spread on bread. It is found only in the south of Tuscany in winter months and even there it can be difficult to come by. Biroldo is another type of black pudding which can be found in Italy.
In Portuguese cuisine, there are many varieties of black pudding. Sausages made of blood are usually called Morcela, negrinha (a slang term from Portuguese negro meaning dark or black) there are many variations around the Portuguese world. There are variations in Portugal, Azores, Hawaii, China, US and India etc.
In Iceland, blóðmör is one of two types of slátur. It is made from lamb’s blood and suet, rye flour and oats, traditionally stuffed into pouches sewn from the lamb’s stomach. It is usually boiled in its skin, eaten hot or cold, sometimes sliced and fried. After cooking, it is often preserved in fermented whey and acquires a distinct sour taste.
Blodpudding is popular in Sweden, and there are variants such as blodkorv (blood sausage), blodplättar (blood pancakes) and blodpalt. There is also a soup made from blood, called svartsoppa (black soup). One traditional way of serving blood pudding in Sweden is with bacon, cabbage, and lingonberry jam.
Alongside the mustamakkara (black sausage) in Finland, a dish similar to black pudding is made by making batter out of pig’s blood and baking it like pancakes. Traditionally, rye flour or oatmeal is used and minced onion is added to the mix. This dish is called veriohukainen (blood pancake). It is similar to the Swedish dish blodplättar above, and is alternatively called veriletut (using a Finland-Swedish term for pancakes instead of a native Finnish one). A dish similar to Swedish svartsoppa is a traditional northern Finnish soup made of rössypottu (blood pudding).
In Estonia, verivorst (blood sausage) is very similar to Finnish mustamakkara. It is sold and eaten mostly in winter, being a traditional Christmas food. At that time there is a large variety of verivorst in stores, ranging in different shapes and sizes. Verivorst is usually cooked in an oven, but sometimes also fried in a pan. Like in Finland, verivorst is often eaten together with lingonberry jam, but occasionally also with butter or sour cream. Another similar dish is called verikäkk (blood dumpling). Its popularity has decreased during the past decades (possibly because of its less appealing commercial appearance) and has mostly been substituted by verivorst.
Spanish morcilla has many variants. The most well-known and widespread is morcilla de Burgos which contains mainly pork blood and fat, rice, onions, and salt. In Albacete and La Mancha, the morcilla is filled with onions instead of rice, which completely changes the texture. In Extremadura the creamy morcilla patatera includes roughly mashed potatoes. In the northern regions and the Canary Islands there is a sweet variety known as morcilla dulce. Other varieties introduce breadcrumbs, pine nuts, almonds and vary the proportions of the other ingredients or flavourings, some of them considered delicacies.
Throughout Eastern Europe, blood sausage, known as kishka (meaning “intestine”), is made with pig’s blood and buckwheat kasha. It is also known in Russia as krovyanka (кровянка), or krovyanaya kolbasa (кровяная колбаса, literally “blood sausage”), and include buckwheat as a main filler, instead of oats or oatmeal. In Ukraine it’s called krov’yanka (кров’янка) or kryvava kyshka (кривава кишка), kiszka or kaszanka in Poland, and krupniok in Silesia. Polish salceson (“black” and “Brunszwicki”) are a type of head cheese that contains blood. In Hungary, véres hurka is made with rice, pig’s blood and pork. In Bulgaria, karvavitsa (кървавица) is usually prepared with pig’s blood, fat and a variety of mountain herbs and spices and eaten warm during the winter. A similar blood sausage, called krvavica, is also eaten in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia.
In Romania, the traditional sângerete (Romania) (from sânge, “blood” in Romanian) is made from shoulder butt pork meat, pork blood and a filler such as pre-boiled rice seasoned with pepper, garlic and basil. It has many regional variants, but the most common are the sângerete from Transylvania.
Similarly, in Czech cuisine, jelito is made from second-rate pork, pig’s blood and peeled barley; the stuffing served by itself, unformed, is called prejt.
Other varieties of blood sausage include blodpølse (Norway and Denmark), tongeworst (with added pigs tongues) (Netherlands), mazzit (Malta), krvavica (Balkans), krovianka (Russia and Ukraine).
As German Americans are one of the largest ancestral groups in the United States, foods like blood sausage (sometimes still called Blutwurst) are still eaten, although often by older generations. Among other English-speaking North Americans, the consumption of British-style black pudding and similar dishes is largely confined to recent immigrants from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and so forth. This Old World tradition also continues with French Canadians and Cajuns (Acadians). Blood sausages are very difficult to find in American supermarkets, and are often made at home, especially by the older generations. In Wisconsin, Brussels and Sturgeon Bay are all home to local grocers who produce blood sausage, due to their large Belgian American populations. Supermarkets throughout Maine also carry locally produced blood pudding due to the state’s large French Canadian population. In southeastern Michigan, Polish-style Kaszanka can be found in supermarkets throughout the year and is very popular.
An Italian-American version of black pudding in the San Francisco Bay area is called biroldo and has pine nuts, raisins, spices, pig snouts and is made using either pig’s or cow’s blood.
Cajun boudin is a fresh sausage made with green onions, pork, pork liver(making it somewhat gritty/grainy), and rice. Pig’s blood was sometimes added to produce boudin rouge, but this tradition became increasingly rare after the mid-twentieth century due to the decline of the boucherie (traditional communal butchering) and government health regulations. As a result, Cajun boudin is now usually made without blood.
In many areas of Latin America, morcilla is served. Morcilla is sometimes made with a filler of rice and/or onions, and seasoned with paprika and other spices.
In Puerto Rico, it is served fried and mostly consumed during the holidays. In some countries of South America, morcilla is a traditional component of the asado, a regional mixed grill or barbecue meal.
In Venezuela, morcilla is often served with parrilla (barbecue). Morcilla is also eaten inside a sandwich called “morcipán,” especially in Argentina and other Río de la Plata countries.
In Uruguay, a sweet version including raisins and pine nuts is popular, some vendors even add chocolate, caramelised orange peels, peanuts, and other dried fruits. Uruguayans usually are fond of sweet or salty morcilla, and most restaurants and supermarkets carry both versions.
In Chile, it is called prieta.
In Ecuador it is also called morcilla.
In Panama and Colombia, it is called morcilla, rellena or tubería negra, and is usually filled with rice.
In Brazil, as in Portugal, morcela and chouriço de sangue are eaten.
In Nicaragua and Mexico, it is called “moronga”.
In Guyana, the main ingredient in black pudding is cooked rice seasoned with herbs, such as thyme and basil. The rice is mixed with cow’s blood, stuffed into cow’s or pig’s intestine, and boiled until firm. It is served as an appetizer or snack, often with any type of hot sauce, mild to hot, depending on preference and regional area.
In Suriname, black pudding is known by the Dutch name bloedworst, and white pudding by the also Dutch name vleesworst.
In Antigua, rice pudding is a local delicacy and it is prepared the same way as black pudding. In the French Antilles boudin antilla is is very popular, this being the French boudin noir with local Caribbean chilli and other spices.
In Trinidad & Tobago, a version of black pudding heavily seasoned with local peppers is prepared from pig’s blood. It is sold by local producers as a popular accompaniment to rolls of crusty hops bread.
In Barbados, black pudding is made with sweet potato (batata), pig’s blood and onions, seasoned with peppers and other herbs and stuffed in pig intestines. It is normally served with souse which is pickled pig’s feet, pig’s ears and other trimmings. The cooked meat is cut into bite-sized pieces and soaked in a brine made of water, lime juice, cucumbers, hot pepper, and specially prepared seasonings. Black pudding and souse is a Bajan delicacy usually prepared on weekends and special occasions.
Other varieties of blood sausage include boudin rouge (Creole and Cajun), rellena or moronga (Mexico) and sanganel (Friuli).