Boudin Blanc for Christmas in France

Here in France, the land of elaborate holiday meals, I used to put myself out making complicated dishes for my family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Over the past few years, however, we have adopted “boudin blanc”, a plump white sausauge filled with ground chicken, veal or pork mixed with egg, milk and soft bread crumbs. It is generally available in some shape or form all year round, but I make a point of buying it only for the holidays.

Traditionally, boudin blanc is a starter, and it can even be considered a side dish, but for us it is the star of the Christmas Eve meal. I cook the sausages simply, wrapping them individually in aluminum foil and sticking them in a hot oven for 20 minutes. With steamed red potatoes and sautéed apples on the side, they make a quick and festive holiday meal for a small group.

My Larousse Gastronomique lists 8 types of boudin blanc in its detailed chart entitled “Characteristics of Different Boudins.” The variety I buy from the local butcher, though, contains specks of morel mushrooms and is not mentioned in the Larousse – so I can only imagine how many types of boudin can be found all over France.

Oh yes, this is a wine blog, so you must be dying to know what you would drink this French holiday treat if you were spending Christmas with me in Aveyron. Well, after years of following my instincts on this important matter, I’ve just done a little research on the question — and I was right all along. Most reds would overwhelm this pale, delicate dish. My wine “marriage” books recommend delicate whites such as Sancerre, or Champagne.

 We usually opt for the latter. Wouldn’t you?

(Photo courtesy of Le Manoir Alexandre, fabulous foie gras specialists located in Espalion, France — only a few miles from my home.)



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