The word boudin for me conjures up images of the French sausages - boudin noir and boudin blanc. The first, is a blood sausage, and the second a more delicate, finely textured sausage made from pork and chicken, often embellished with black truffles. A boudin in Louisiana is different, it is still a sausage, but.....
At first glance they look like the French sausages, but you can see with the white one just how soft the filling is. Despite always being in natural casings, most people eat them by squeezing out the filling. These boudins contain ground pork, ground pork liver, although less and less, and rice. The grind of the pork varies from medium to coarse and unlike classic French boudin there is always chile. The white boudin has chopped green onion and the dark one blood of course. In season they make crawfish boudin.
Chef Folse and Michaela took me along the Boudin trail and our first stop was at Poche's in Breaux Bridge, just outside Lafayette. It's a family run place owned by Floyd Poche who's English is charmingly accented by his French and German heritage.
Poche's is both a butchers store with a large selection of fresh and frozen meat, and a diner. You choose your meal from the hot table and eat in carvernous room decorated with deers heads. Your choice depends on the day, so if you go on a Tuesday as we did, you know there'll be smothered pork chops or rabbit, and crawfish étouffée, there is always boudin and cracklings. We tried the smothered rabbit, smothered means covered in a rich roux based sauce as is the crawfish étoufée, étouffer being the French for smother. The rabbit came with rice and sides of green beans in sauce and smothered potatoes [potatoes mashed with that rich sauce] and a bread roll to keep up the carbohydrates!
Of course we tried the boudin, a good blend of pork, pork liver, and rice flavoured with onion, red cayenne and jalapeño, which has taken over from the green cayenne pepper. The cracklings were large pieces of fried pork skin with the fat and meat still attached and mildly spicy.
Next stop was Don's Specialty Meats on the other side of Lafayette. How could I not love a store that sold large jars of lard?
At Don's you can buy meat, groceries and even T shirts. Their boudin has a coarser texture with more rice, and the cracklings, all fat and skin were smaller and spicier. At the back are the boudin balls that Michaela insisted we try, deep frying is a popular way of cooking. As you can guess I was starting to feel full, I needed exercise, so we went to visit the locals.....