I have heard on occasions that Hog’s Pudding is the ‘Devonshire haggis’ which I find totally incomprehensible. It looks nothing like haggis and it sure as hell tastes nothing like haggis. Granted it is a large sausage and it has some magical ingredients but unlike the haggis they do not live on the moor and aren’t shot by the dozen for Burn’s night. I have called this page ‘Dartmoor Hog’s Pudding’ but it is by no means exclusive to the moor. However, Martins, the butchers in Okehampton sells the best you will find in Devon. There are also scallywags who will say that Hogs Pudding is a Cornish Tradition, well that as may be but anyone travelling down the A30 will find a Devonshire Hogs Pudding before a Cornish one. But for breakfast, no forget that, for any meal they are a sumptuous feast full of flavour and texture. They can be a embuggerance to cook especially if you have the heat up too high, then you need a pair of protective goggles – all will be explained:
Hog’s Pudding can come in two sorts, there is the type that are filled with meat and spices or there are what I call the ‘proper’ job which is meat and groats mixed together. The meat can come from two sources, the ‘pluck’ or heart, lungs, liver etc or pork meat. The mixture is usually stuffed into an ox gut casing and is normally about six inches long with a girth of roughly eight inches, which sounds like something from a Ann Summers party, looks like one too!
I did mention earlier that if you get the pan too hot you are in for a pyroclastic shower of molten groats as they erupt from the fat. Those that hit you in the face are quite painful and tend to cause a certain amount of consternation – tis like cooking popcorn without a lid. Sadly, it’s a ‘Catch 22’ situation because to eat the pudding at its best it needs to slightly split so the groats get ‘crusty’ which means the hot shower and it is the degree of heat that determines its ferocity. Alternatively they can be cooked in the oven but then you once again might have the ‘exploding groat’ problem which means cleaning the oven afterwards.
Now the above admirably depicts the ‘Hog’s Pudding Feast’, clearly I will never make a living photographing food as this picture does not even begin to do the meal justice. The dish is a modern version of the traditional meal with ingredients coming from all corners of your local supermarket.
So esteemed was the Devonshire Hog’s Puddings that folk have been prepared to go to prison for stealing them. In 1843 one Mary Willings, a servant girl, was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment with hard labour for pilfering Hog’s Pudding from her employer at Ipplepen. In 1851 a farm labourer from Ermington returned home after going to his local church was most distraught to find that his house had been broken into a his Hog’s Pudding stolen, it was thought that the perpetrator was one of the tramps that infested the area. Five boys were sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment for stealing Hog’s Puddings from a Plymouth butchers shop. The judge commented that had they not been juveniles they would also have been whipped for the crime.
One of the earliest advertisements in the local Devonshire press for Hog’s Puddings appeared in the May of 1856 when bought from the Barnstaple Pannier Market they cost nine old pence.
In some areas of Devon it was customary for landlords to give their tenants at Christmas a pack of playing cards and a string of Hog’s Pudding which it was considered all that was needed for a festive celebration.
In 1881 the Torquay Post Office reported that amongst the things they refused to be sent through the mail for Valentine’s Day were several Hog’s Puddings, wow, imagine giving the love of your life such a token?
In parts of Devon Hog’s Puddings are also called ‘Pots and Puddings’.
In 1893 The Rev. J. C. Perry Keene greatly amused the audience at a concert in Dean Prior when he recited the poem – ‘New Receipt for Hog’s Pudding‘.
From the mid 1850s there was an on-going Hog’s Pudding war taking place in Torquay with two butchers, Samuel Pascoe and S. Bibbings claiming to make the best puddings. As can be seen above so intense was the battle that in 1901 Samuel Pascoe submitted his puddings to an analyst from Liverpool for examination and then published his findings In 1904 Mr. Bibbings was summoned to the Exeter Police Court for refusing the Inspector of Nuisances entry to his property without a warrant. The inspector then returned with a warrant three quarters of an hour later he found that there had been a massive clear-up in his absence. However he did find evidence of fatty matter having been poured down the water closet and that the trap was blocked with cooked and uncooked meat. In another room he found a copper that had been hidden behind some crates and boxes along with a furnace and chimney. Bibbings defence was that at the time of the inspectors visit his wife was ill hence and taking a bath in the basement prior to a doctors’ visit hence he refused entry. The court found that as this was his second offence he was found guilty and fined £5 for obstructing an inspector.
You will want:
2 x Hog’s Puddings per person
1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes
1 x Handful of Fresh Basil
3 x Field Mushrooms or if out of season Portobello Mushrooms – per person
2 x Slices of Stone Ground Bread
1 x Whatever of Potato Jacket Wedges – buy one get one free if poss.
2 x Slices of Pancetta per Hogs Pudding, wrap around each end
1 x Orgasmic, Free Range, Bird Flu Free, Hedgerow Egg per person
2 x Bottles of Dartmoor Jail Ale to drink whilst cooking, 3 bottles are even better!
2 x Bottles of Finest Malbec for consumption after the beer has gone
1 x Sachet of Resolve for use about 1.00 am
2 x Rennie Tablets for use about 1.10 am
2 x Aspirins to reduce the risk of heart attack.
1) Place Potato Jacket Wedges in a pre-heated oven – for 20 minutes or fry in large, hot pan for 15 minutes –
2) Wrap Pancetta around Hog’s Pudding – place in oven for 10 minutes
3) Simmer mushrooms in water for 5 minutes
4) Mix basil with plum tomatoes and gently boil for 5 minutes
5) Drizzle oil on stone ground bread and cook in oven for 5 minutes
6) Gently fry Orgasmic, Free Range, Bird Flu Free Eggs for 3 – 5 minutes
7) Assemble on pre-heated plate and enjoy.
If you are going to the ‘Fat Club’ ’tis best to resign, and please note that it is not only Kensington folk that can drizzle stone ground bread with olive oil, us can do it on Dartmoor as well, except it’s Mazola!
Trying to find a recipe for Hogs Pudding is about as easy as getting the Queens personal mobile number. The ingredients and methods have always been a closely guarded secret amongst butchers and producers and have been handed down through the generations. Should anyone have such a ‘treasure’ I would be grateful to share it. Whoa, the ‘treasure’ has been found, after years of searching I have finally found the holy grail – a recipe for Hog’s Pudding, for full details see this page – A New Recipe for Hog’s Pudding.