2010 International Chefs Congress Workshops: No blood no glory

Star Chefs ICC NYC 2010

Brad Farmerie of Public

During my time at the Congress I attended two workshops (well three). The first on Day 1 was Blood the Essential liquid with Brad Farmerie from Public in NYC. Now I am not a big fan of boudin noir or black pudding, but I figured if my dad digs it maybe I should learn to put some together and I love tradition. So why not.  Scary enough I was the first in line to get in to the workshop. I negotiated the Congress registration process in front of everyone else because I was in a workshop (future tip if you go) that began in less than a half hour.

Brad seemed like a very nice guy.  Low key, calm and with at true desire to teach.  Not the stereotypical chef.   I wasn’t aware that it is was going to be a hands on interactive class, but glad it was.  He started off with a demo of a blood and venison based terrine done in triangular terrine mold.

A few basics on blood first.  Blood coagulates and oxidizes, so it’s impossible to keep that beautiful bright purple color.  It contains albumen and so it is best to cook like an egg, which is to say gently.  Unless you dose fresh blood with anticoagulant it will separate when you freeze and become un-usable when you thaw it.  You can prep it for freezing by mixing 6 parts blood to 1 part vinegar.  It is best to use fresh the day you use it.  Pork blood is king.  Steer clear of cow’s blood (my pun which I dropped at the workshop).  Know your source. When cooked it turns the color of chocolate (nice way to put it).  The French actually have an expression that when something is really poorly done it is CACA BOUDIN…..do I need to translate?

Starchefs ICC NYC 2010

Mise for our batch of Boudin (notice quart of blood in back)

Since blood remains liquid until cooked it is important to add thickeners to the mix.  Breadcrumbs, oats, rice etc. all help.  Fat is also crucial soak up the plasma (is that the sound of clicking to another website I hear?).   Using blood to tun into an edible product is the ultimate tail to snout cooking and should be revered by all proponents of the practice.  It tastes good. Especially with foie gras.

Starchefs ICC NYC 2010

Brad and OZ chef make a batch of Boudin Noir

After the terrine they proceeded to demo what they expected us to make.  Then it was our turn.  So if you have done your own sausage then you have some idea of the technique. However the mixture is mostly liquid and cannot be put into a sausage stuffing canister. Also you have to tie off one end of the casing after you have threaded on what would be the world’s longest condom.  This means high potential for air bubbles. Also you can’t pierce the casing or blood will leak everywhere. OK so it is a major PIA, but here we go.   In the future when I make this I will get a pair of hemostats or a strong clip and close off the one end of the casing so that I can easily release some of the air after the boudin is piped.

Brandon, is working with me at my table.  We put together the mixture easily enough as it is all mise en placed for us.  The fat unfortunately has come to room temp and instead of breaking up is clumping when we try to mix the ingredients.

Starchefs ICC NYC 2010

Brandon my Boudin mixologist

We fill the plastic piping bag with the mix, keep the tip upright so that the mixture doesn’t go flying everywhere when we cut the tip off the piping bag.  We cut the tip and insert it into the sausage stuffing funnel (which looks like the mouthpiece for a tuba) and I try to pipe it into the casing.  I’m not using the right angle, improper piping technique and it is getting clogged in the stuffer.  A quick switch to another piping bag after a another attempt at mixing and we manage to fill the casing.  Then comes the agony of trying to massage the air out of the casing.  Anyway our rustic attempt is somewhat of a success, but much was learned along the way.

Starchefs ICC NYC 2010

Foie Gras torchon with blood sauce

Brad had us try a few dishes he had put together using blood. One was the dish above.  The little puddles of what looks like chocolate sauce is a actually a blood based sauce.  He made some Thai blood pudding Popsicles encrusted in roasted chopped peanuts which were quite nice.  He sliced the triangular venison blood pudding terrine and topped it with a poached egg and covered it with Hollandaise.  This was also quite tasty, but I imagine it would not be a big seller on a brunch menu. He even made some bread using blood.  Hey how about blood pasta?

All in all it was a nice instructional interactive workshop.  I learned a lot and am motivated to make it again.  Now where am I going to source some pigs blood?   If I make some will you come join me for diner?  We could try it with a nice bottle of Chianti and fava beans…….ssssssflssssfl


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