There are many things we love about my brother-in-law, Bradley. He is kind, funny, good at mediating family arguments, and most importantly, he loves my sister. But perhaps the best fringe benefit of having a brother-in-law from Baton Rouge is that he brought boudin into our lives. And for that, we will forever be grateful.
Boudin (pronounced bou-dahn) is a Louisiana specialty, a Cajun tradition that adapts the French boudin blanc to what was readily available in the Acadian settlements. Cajun boudin is pork liver, ground pork shoulder, rice, parsley, green bell peppers, onions and spices all cooked, mixed together, and stuffed in casing. The cased boudin is then grilled or smoked and served with hot sauce, making it irresistibly delicious.
Bradley and Lauren bring boudin with them every time they visit, which meant that by the time I visited Avery Island, Louisiana, a few years ago with Tabasco I knew to be first in line every time boudin was served. One of the highlights of that trip for me was our visit to a local boucherie called Legnon’s to watch them making boudin. The process was incredible, I’m still in awe by how quickly those women were able to stuff and segment those sausages!
We made a batch of boudin for Dan’s big birthday party a few weeks ago, and after we’d exhausted all the casing available we fried the remaining filling into boudin balls and served them with a spicy chipotle mustard. We smoked the boudin links and squirreled away a few in the freezer, which I will be cooking up this week in celebration of Mardi Gras. That, and the beignet dough I’ve been saving!
adapted from Emeril‘s recipe for boudin
1 1/4 pounds pork shoulder, cubed
1/2 pound pork (or beef) liver, rinsed and cubed
1 quart water
1 small white onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
3 tsps salt
2 tsps cayenne powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups cooked rice
A handful of chopped parsley
A handful of chopped green onion
In a large pan combine the meat and half of the vegetables (bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery) and half of the spices with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving a cup of broth. Put everything through a meat grinder with a 1/4″ die, along with the remaining fresh vegetables and half of the parsley. Mix the ground meat and vegetables with the rice, remaining parsley, green onions, and remaining spices. Refrigerate for 1 hour. *
Heat high-temp oil to 375F. Use your hands to pack the boudin into balls approximately the same size as golf balls. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, with spicy mustard or hot sauce to dip.
*instructions on stuffing boudin in casing