Both black puddings and apples are important to the story of the pig’s place in British cookery and bringing them together like this works a treat.
Quite why apples go so well with all pig-related dishes is a bit chicken and egg. Perhaps it stems from pigs scavenging for apples; or maybe it is from them being fed on apples to enhance the flavour of their meat. Even pigs kept on the patches of land belonging to medieval smallholders and cottagers would be given apple scraps. That the blood of the pig was kept and used shows what a premium was placed on making sure none of the animal was wasted when it came round to butchering time.
My favourite black pudding story actually comes from my sister, Jane. One of her school-teachers was Mrs Thornley – of the distinguished Lancashire black-pudding-making Thornleys. Each of her lessons would start with Mrs Thornley taking orders for black puddings from the girls. No pressure to purchase there, then…
Here black pudding and apple come together in this very lovely supper dish. The apples are cooked in the black pudding fat, flamed with calvados and then finished with a grating of nutmeg.
For a quick supper (or starter) for two:
- Half a large black-pudding
- 1tbsp unsalted butter
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 100ml calvados
- 2 green English apples
- whole nutmeg
1. Slice the black pudding into rounds 1-1.5cm thick. Quarter and core the apples; then thinly slice them into elegant half-moons.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Lay the black pudding into the pan, giving them two minutes each side. Remove to a serving plate, keeping them covered and warm.
3. Pour the excess fat out of the pan and the calvados in. Now flame it but bear in mind that calvados flames long and high. Once it has died down lay the apples in, season, and grate some nutmeg over. Cook until just soft – a couple of mins probably.
4. Now just arrange the apple slices in a pretty ring on top of the black pudding and pour the juices over. Serve with hunks of crusty bread to mop the juices up.