Blood Sausage, Colombia Style
I know this blog is mainly dedicated to the hot dog, however we also have a love of other encased meats. So I was curious how I could possibly include an entry on encased rice! You heard me, rice! Why don’t I start at the beginning.
A week or two ago, I went to a new hip, dark wood, marble bar, small plates gastropub-type of restaurant down the block. I knew they had blood sausage on the menu and figured I would try this dish for the first time. I knew it would be pretty different than the typical sausage but I was thrown off by the mushy consistency and the flavor. I ate the whole thing (it was served in 5 or 6 small chunks) but promptly ordered a house-made kielbasa after that.
Fast-forward to the beginning of the week when I had a conversation about blood sausage with my co-workers Norma and Steve. I talk about food with them and mentioned I tried blood sausage. I told them what it was like and they said I probably didn’t have a good representation of what it usually tastes like. I guessed that it was kind of like haggis, ground up organ meat mixed with an oatmeal type stuffing. “There’s no meat in blood sausage,” Norma said. Steve agreed. This confused the hell out of me as I figured all types of sausage had meat. Norma is of Colombian descent and Steve is from the east Caribbean island of Dominica. They both grew up with a variant of blood sausage that consisted primarily of rice, spices, cow blood (which seems to serve as a congealer for the rice and the color of the sausage), and the intestinal casing.
I did a little research before writing this and am blown away at how prevalent blood sausage is around the entire globe. And almost every country and community has its own way of preparing it. Some have meat, some don’t, some are prepared with apples as a garnish or side, some call it blood pudding. Check out this wikipedia article on the various ways to prepare it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pudding
So Norma told me that the Colombian bakeries in her town make this sausage and she would bring some in to work. Hell yeah, the first blog post from work! I went in yesterday and she brought in two large blood sausages from her local bakery.
By the time I was able to get a sample it was no longer warm. This may sound sacreligious, but I put some in the microwave to heat up. And I have to say, this was damn good. Way better than the version I had at that restaurant. It had a spice flavor I couldn’t identify, but the rice and onion filling was quite familiar, almost like an Indian dish. And the casing had really great snap! Here’s a cross-section of the sausage, although a tad blurry.
Both Steve and Norma told me that no one up here really makes their own blood sausage, usually because they don’t have a convenient supply of blood. It’s typically made by scratch in the country and on farms. So both get their supply at bakeries, and interestingly, both of them, although from different cultural backgrounds, only usually ate them on the weekends. So this was a great experience and I’m pretty interested in exploring the rest of the globe’s variations!
Brisas Colombianas Bakery: 262 Morris Avenue, Elizabeth NJ 07208