“Until the early 1970s, when Chef Paul Prudhomme began teaching the gospel of South Louisiana cuisine, boudin, tasso, andouille, and cracklins weren’t well-known outside the area. These pork-based items were typically prepared during a boucherie, a communal slaughtering and butchering of a fattened hog, in which participants received their share of the meat.
Too many years ago to count, I remember boucheries that were held two or three times each winter at my Grandfather Broussard’s farm near St. Martinville.
After the pig was slaughtered, family members, friends, and farmhands gathered at long wooden tables and worked feverishly throughout the day making boudin, chaurice, andouille, and fresh pork sausage. The trimmings were cut into strips, much like jerky, dried, then smoked. (This was the forerunner of what we now know as tasso.) Other pieces were packed in brine and stored in crocks to become salted meat to flavor vegetables like greens and beans. There were cauldrons of sizzling grattons (or cracklins) and a big cast-iron pot of thick, spicy backbone stew that served as the evening meal when all the work was completed.
In these days of modern refrigeration, boucheries are seldom held. Sausages, boudin, and cracklings are now available at butcher shops in South Louisiana and at many convenience stores and supermarkets, but adventurous cooks still enjoy making their own boudin. After all, it’s little more than a combination of rice, bits of pork, liver, and just the right amount of trinity, right?
One does not have to stuff the mixture into casings; it can be formed into patties or balls for a variety of uses. Here is a basic recipe I often use, but feel free to experiment. You can decrease the amount of pork liver and increase the amount of pork shoulder if you like. I like to add lots of green onion and flat-leaf parsley along with bits of garlic. Make it your own.” –Marcelle Bienvenu
- 1½ cups fine dry bread crumbs (or more, if needed)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
- Homemade Boudin, recipe follows
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Spread bread crumbs evenly on a large platter. In a shallow bowl, combine eggs, salt, cayenne, and hot sauce.
- Form Homemade Boudin into walnut-sized balls.
- In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches; heat over medium heat until a deep fry or candy thermometer registers 360°.
- Add balls, in batches, to the egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs, coating them evenly. Fry balls, in batches, in oil until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.
- As an alternative, boudin balls can be flattened into patties and fried in oil in a skillet until crispy.
- 3 cups short-grain rice, cooked according to package directions, and cooled
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound pork liver, cleaned and cut into large chunks
- 2 quarts water
- 1½ cups coarsely chopped onion
- ½ cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
- ½ cup coarsely chopped celery
- 4½ teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
- 1¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided
- ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, divided
- ¾ cup chopped green onion, divided
- In a large bowl, add rice, and fluff with a fork.
- In a large Dutch oven, combine pork, liver, 2 quarts water, onion, bell pepper, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until pork and liver are tender, about 1½ hours. Remove from heat, and drain, reserving 1½ cups of broth.
- In a meat grinder fitted with a ¼-inch dye, grind pork and liver with ¼ cup parsley and ¼ cup green onion. (The pork and liver can also be coarsely chopped, in batches, in the bowl of a food processor.)
- In a large bowl, combine pork mixture and rice, remaining 3½ teaspoons salt, remaining 1¾ teaspoons cayenne, remaining ¾ teaspoon black pepper, remaining ½ cup parsley, and remaining ½ cup green onion. Mix well. Add reserved broth, about ½ cup at a time, combining until mixture is moist but holds together when squeezed.
- Form mixture into balls or patties and use, or freeze up to 3 months.
- Yields about 4½ pounds