Not too long ago, my boyfriend discovered an ethnic grocery store with an eclectic mix of produce, meat and other interesting items, such as homemade flan. Eager to check out and sample some of the shop’s wares, he returned home with longanzia, a tasty Spanish sausage, and an unlabeled package of meat that kind of resembled sausage, but kind of didn’t. It certainly didn’t look like anything I had ever eaten before.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Sausage, maybe,” he said.
That evening, he cooked some of the mystery meat on the stove, and we added it to our pasta. I liked it, but I wasn’t convinced it was sausage. Texture-wise, it reminded me a little bit of liver — it was softer than traditional sausage, and it had a milder, sweeter taste than the longanzia.
“I hate to be a nag,” I said, as I gobbled up the last of the mystery meat, “but the next time you buy meat, could you make sure to find out what it is?”
When I came home the next time, my boyfriend was cooking the mystery meat with cherry tomatoes, raisins and nuts.
“I figured out what it is,” he said, gesturing at the skillet. “Do you want me to tell you before or after we eat it?”
“Just tell me now,” I said.
Turns out, we were eating blood sausage. And it tasted really good mixed with cherry tomatoes, raisins and nuts. But I soon discovered that many people are grossed out by the very concept of blood sausage, because it just doesn’t sound like a very appealing thing to eat. I have to admit, I was more than a little grossed out when I learned I’d been eating blood sausage. But it was so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it.
Interested in learning more about blood sausage, I turned to the Internet, which informed me that blood sausage is eaten all over the world, and that different countries have their own recipes. Blood sausage comes in links that are filled with meat, dried animal blood and other ingredients, such as cornmeal and potatoes. In Great Britain, where blood sausage is known as blood pudding, the sausage is typically made from pork, pig blood and oatmeal. My friend Hanna, a food writer, informed me that the Germans and Poles also consume a fair amount of blood sausage. “There’s also great blood sausage in Korean cooking, but I’m guessing that’s not what your butcher made,” she wrote in an email.
We swung by the ethnic grocery store on Saturday morning, but we didn’t buy any more blood sausage. Instead we got flan and longanzia. But I’m sure we’ll stock up on blood sausage again sometime soon, because we really like it. If you can get over its slightly off-putting name, it’s a real treat.
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