Black pudding time – Blunzengeröstel (black pudding rosti) is a popular dish during Harvest Festival

When one thinks of Austrian cuisine, one usually thinks of a very meat-heavy, hearty cuisine with schnitzel, roast pork and snack platters on the one hand and the many sweet delicacies such as Buchteln, Sachertorte, apple strudel, apricot dumplings and carnival doughnuts on the other. Shaped by history, there are culinary traditions in every region that are still upheld today.
Many hearty dishes in Austria have their origins in a time when meat was only served on Sundays and public holidays and all parts of a slaughtered animal were used as much as possible. The so-called "nose to tail" principle was the norm in the past, and virtually all parts of the animal were used, from offal to tongue. In contrast to the past, it is now affordable to be selective in the choice of meat, but some recipes with the by-products of slaughtering still enjoy great popularity. For example, black pudding, a main ingredient in the following recipe, contains pork blood, rind, bacon and a variety of spices. In other countries, too, black pudding can be found as a food or ingredient in dishes, such as mustamakkara in Tampere, Finland, morcilla in Spain or black pudding in the United Kingdom.
A dish made of black pudding, which is well-known and popular throughout Austria and also in neighbouring Bavaria, is the Blunzengröstel (black pudding rosti), consisting of roasted potatoes and black pudding, the so-called Blunzen. In our part of the world, the Blunzengröstel is a traditional dish for cool autumn days and is served by many inns as a farmer's autumn speciality. I usually have Blunzengröstel at home, cooked according to my grandmother's recipe, who herself loved to cook it for the whole family, but especially for my grandfather. I would like to share this recipe with you today:

I like to cook this recipe with Lungau "Eachtling", but you can of course use any type of potato you like, as long as it is firm. You can buy black pudding at your local butcher's shop or at a well-stocked weekly market. I bought the black pudding for this recipe at the weekly market in Radstadt.

Wash and clean the potatoes, put them in a pot with water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. In the meantime, cut the onions into fine rings. Peel the skin off the black pudding and cut it into slices that are not too thick. The sauerkraut can also be prepared as a side dish. You can refine the sauerkraut, either ready-made or homemade, with spices such as juniper berries, bay leaves and a dash of olive oil.

Strain the cooked potatoes and leave to cool briefly. Then peel the potatoes and cut them into slices about 0.5 cm thick.

Slowly fry the sliced onions in a large pan with melted butter until the onions are translucent.

Now add the sliced black pudding and fry it as well. Then you can add the potato slices, season with salt and pepper and add caraway seeds and marjoram according to taste. Mix the mixture well and fry for a few minutes.

Garnish the Blunzengröstel with finely chopped parsley and freshly grated horseradish. Serve the Blunzengröstel in the pan, together with the ready-made sauerkraut as a side dish. A glass of beer is recommended to enhance the enjoyment :).

Enjoy your meal, or as we say here: Moizeit!
P.S. What are your secret tips for a successful Blunzengröstel? I would be very happy to receive suggestions for refining my recipe!
photo credits: Marlene Habersatter