Irish White Pudding

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Irish White Pudding

Some time back I posted about my trials of an Irish White Pudding recipe that I developed in collaboration with my forum mate John.

Now, I have to admit, I can take-or-leave these Irish delicacies but I believe that this recipe is as close to the commercial ones, as we can get. That is, the ones which I was sent which are made by Breeo Foods of Dublin and sold under the 'Shaws' brand-name. They're the ones on the left in this picture:

Shaws Irish White Pudding

The final recipe stood up to the 'John's mother-in-law' test and passed with flying colours.

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Old Cure Recipes - 2. Dry Cures, the Theory

Having looked at some of the reasons why we wouldn't just use older cures without amendment in the previous post, let's actually look at a cure and some of the questions it throws up.

A fairly easy recipe to start with, recipe 878 from the 1872 print of 'Warnes Every-day Cookery Book':


878. For every forty or fifty pounds of meat, allow one pound of bay salt; one pound of saltpetre; two ounces of salprunella; four pounds of common salt.

In Yorkshire and the northern counties, pigs are scalded ; the hams, spareribs, and chine cut off, and then afterwards salted thus :—
Rub them well with common salt, and lay them on a board for the first brine to run away, for twenty-four hours; then take for every side of forty or fifty pounds, the above quantity of bay salt, saltpetre, sal-prunella bruised fine, and mixed with four pounds of common salt. Rub the pork well with salt, and put it in the pans at full length; turn and rub it in the brine every day for a fortnight, then take it out, strew it all over with bran or sawdust, and hang it in a wood smoke till it is dry ; place it in a cool dry place, taking care that it does not touch the wall, as that would spoil it.

I say 'easy' because at least this recipe gives us both the amount of ingredients and the amount of meat to cure; often they don't.

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Using Old Cure Recipes

Recently the subject of old curing recipes has come up on two occasions: once in relation to a recipe from a Jane Grigson book, and the other in respect of an American corned beef recipe. Neither person had any qualms about using the recipe; the questions they asked were unrelated to the advisability of using the cure. However, in using older cure recipes, there are a number of things that we need to consider.

old curing books

The first is the amount of curing salt used on the meat. In old recipes, this will generally be in the form of saltpetre (potassium nitrate), Chile saltpetre (sodium nitrate) or even Sal Prunella - a salt made by fusing saltpetre into balls, which produces minute quantities of potassium nitrite enabling the curing process to start more quickly. Many older recipes contain levels of these salts well above the levels considered safe nowadays.

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