Chef Russell Moore has something in his repertoire that has dogged him for years now precisely because it so delicious. It's called boudin blanc, and if you're unfamiliar with this rich and much coveted sausage from the Burgundy region of France you owe it to yourself to get over to Moore's restaurant Camino before the month of November is through. Once a year (or so), Moore gets back to the arduous process of making this velvety pork and chicken sausage made with cream solely for the pleasure of his regulars, and it's served as part of a prix fixe on Mondays this month, or as a middle course with beets and sauerkraut on the regular dinner menu (for $15).
It is wildly good, as those regulars know, and only makes occasional appearances due to its level of difficulty to make, sometimes popping up only at New Year's Eve.
Moore spoke about the curse of his boudin blanc with First We Feast earlier this year, saying that while it is one of the ten dishes that has made his career, "I do it in this tedious way that’s un-teachable."
He further elaborated with Grub Street several years back, describing how he first came to make the sausage as a young cook in the kitchen at Chez Panisse, after Alice Waters asked him to make some for a special event:
I called my friend David Tannis [formerly executive chef at Chez Panisse] in Santa Fe, because I knew he’d have some advice. If anyone knows David, he speaks in really vague, whimsical terms, and he said things like: ‘It should be soft and yielding with a crispy skin, but it definitely shouldn’t bounce back from the casing. It should taste like the things you put in it.’
After that conversation I basically lied and told Alice I knew how to make it, and I spent the next twelve hours figuring it out on my own. It’s a really tough sausage to get right, to get the flavors right, and there are so many components. It was a big hit at the party, everyone talked about it, and it ended up on the regular menu in the café. But the problem is it took me fucking forever to make every single time, and it still does.
...I think it’s better now than it was. I use Soul Food Farm chickens, which are so good. I start making it in the morning, butchering everything myself, saving the fat, grinding each meat separately, and eventually something splatters on me and I end up smelling like sausage for days. But we’ve got some funny customers who keep coming back for it.
Despite saying his method is "un-teachable," Moore nonetheless shared his boudin blanc recipe with Saveur last year, around the time of the publication of his and wife Allison Hopelain first cookbook, This Is Camino. It's listed as taking three and a half hours.
And if we needed any other reason to love Camino, the restaurant served up free amaro cocktails (i.e. bitter ones) last Wednesday night, following the election, in order to help neighbors commiserate.
Camino - 3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland - Open for dinner Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 to 9:30 and Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m. Closed Tuesday