Bull Negre is a Catalan blood sausage made entirely with pork. The name may look like it’s made with male cow parts, but in Catalan bull is pronounced buwee. The sausage contains minced pork, blood and other meat, such as: bacon fat, pork cheeks, innards, pork face, kidney, face and neck fat cubes. It is seasoned with salt and pepper, then flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and sometimes saffron. Some specialty bull contains, mushrooms, peppers or pistachios. This is an artisanal sausage stuffed into natural pig intestines before boiling. Like other black puddings, there’s also a white version, without blood, called bull blanc.
Unlike most common European black puddings, bull is a cured sausage and is normally sliced and served at room temperature – it has a wonderful savoury taste with a slightly crumbly texture.
It’s particularly good with pan con tomate – bread or toast rubbed with raw garlic, followed by half a tomato, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
One might also enjoy it served with a slice of queso de oveja – sheep’s cheese.
Whenever possible, I like to buy my bull from La Moianesa in the Boqueria, Barcelona. This is a busy, family run business where the ladies have fabulous infectious smiles – it always makes me happy shopping there.
Having eaten half my blood sausage cold, I looked up recipes for bull in cooking. There weren’t many, but I did see a suggestion for chopping up the pudding and adding it to a stew. There was some leftover lamb shoulder in the fridge and dry white beans to hand, so I knew just what to make – white beans with lamb and bull negre.
Receta de Alubias Blancas, Bull Negre y Cordero (serves 4):
1lb (500g) leftover lamb shoulder (diced)
3 slices smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1 inch (2.5cm) bull negre
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large stick of celery (chopped)
2 small peppers (chopped) – red and green, but a single large one would be just as good
4 medium tomatoes (grated)
1/2 lb (250g) navy/haricot beans (dry weight, double this if using canned)
2 squirts anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera picante
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera dulce
a splash or two of sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground)
cracked black pepper to taste
1 pint (1/2 litre) homemade lamb stock
extra virgin olive oil
Chop the bacon and brown it in hot olive oil. Remove to a plate when done. Turn the heat down and gently poach (sofreír) the chopped onion, until it is soft. When the onion becomes sticky, grate in 4 tomatoes – cut them in half, shred the wet side and discard the skin. Stir the tomato in, along with the chopped garlic. Return the bacon to the dish along with the cumin and pimentón. Mix in the red and green peppers along with the celery, followed by the bay leaves, sherry vinegar and anchovy paste. Sprinkle on cracked black pepper to taste. Add the precooked beans, lamb and stock. I normally soak dried beans and pulses for 1 hour in boiling water, followed by the recommended cooking time (around 10 minutes) in a pressure cooker.
Chop the bull negre and sprinkle on top – stir in to add flavour.
Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2 hours on low, then allow to thicken uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
The stock made with the lamb shoulder bone and the fatty off cuts made my lips stick together. It tasted pretty good before I added the bull negre, but the blood sausage subtly turned the flavour up to 11!