Boudin blanc to the right, boudin noir (blood sausage) to the left.According to serious boudin blanc afficionados, they should still be considered a seasonal product, best purchased in the period from November to Easter. These artisanal boudins are made by charcutiers who infuse diced vegetables such as carrots, turnips and fennel with parsley, cloves and maybe even vanilla beans in milk for a couple of hours. Pork shoulder meat is mixed with eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and white wine, cider or pommeau (a fortified cider), then the milk is strained in. After the sausages are extruded they are plunged into boiling water which is taken off the heat and the sausages left to sit in the hot water for 20 minutes. Artisan charcutiers scorn the use of breadcrumbs in the mix.
According to one of the regional Confrérie des compagnons du boudin blanc (Brotherhood of Companions of the White Sausage - in other words, the trade association for boudin blanc manufacturers) the boudin blanc originated as a gruel of milk, breadcrumbs, fat, potato starch and sometimes ham or chicken which housewives would prepare at Christmas time. Everyone would then feast on it after midnight mass.
An artisan charcutier's stall at a market in the wintertime.Modern recipes for boudin blanc vary from region to region and they are made all over France, but especially in the north. Some use lean pork, some use rendered fat or the cooked large intestine of the pig. Traditionally they are served with chestnuts, mushrooms or apples, depending on the region.