A staple of Northern British and Irish fare, black pudding has made its way onto tables alongside potatoes, gravy and minced meat pies for hundreds of years. In a time where not one part of a slaughtered animal was wasted, black pudding resulted from the blood of the animal. Rich in taste and texture, black pudding can be difficult to find fresh in many areas outside of the U.K. One option for obtaining Irish black pudding is in the frozen foods section at your local specialty deli. Cooked as part of the process when creating the sausages, the frozen pudding is easily reheated. However, while blood sausage can be cooked straight from the freezer, thawing it beforehand is a better option, as this allows for the heating process to occur more evenly.
Purchase frozen Irish blood pudding from your local specialty grocer or butcher. Keep it below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or the freezing point, when transferring it from store to home. Place it in a freezer that is at least 32 F or below to keep it from growing harmful bacteria. Use before the best before date on the packaging.
Defrost the desired length of Irish blood pudding sausages in a fridge set to 40 F or below for between 3 to 4 hours, or until defrosted through. The defrosted lengths can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This allows for a more even reheating, as cooking it straight from the freezer will overheat the outside of the sausage while the inside remains cold. Alternatively, if wanting a quicker way to defrost blood pudding, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and set the microwave to defrost mode, cooking it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Cooked on the proper defrosting mode, this will not affect the taste or texture of the sausage, however, if using regular high power mode, the outside of the sausage will dry out and be over cooked while the inside will remain cold. This can also occur if left for too long in the microwave -- only cook according to the standard time allocated by the microwave manufacturer's for defrosting sausage.
Cook the sausage straight from the freezer by a moist method of cooking. As the sausage will cook much faster in the areas where it touches a hot frying pan or baking tray, leaving the inside cold, heat that evenly spreads throughout is the best option. Cook on medium heat in a covered pan on the stove or wrap a baking dish in tinfoil and heat in an oven set to 350 F. If desiring a lightly browned sausage, sear in a hot frying pan after the sausage has reheated evenly throughout.
Black pudding is best served hot, but you can serve it lightly warmed or cold, as it is already cooked as part of the sausage-making process. Use in a variety of dishes, such as casseroles or stews, or serve on its own, accompanied by mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. The reheated sausage also makes an unusual topping for pizzas when thinly sliced, or adds flavor to pasta sauce when crumbled in.
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Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.