February 9th, 2011
Morcillas are Spanish black puddings or blood sausages. Traditionally morcilla was made at the annual matanza, where the family pig would be killed to produce meat, ham, cured sausage etc., for the coming year – nothing is wasted. The blood from the pig would be collected in a bowl and stirred continually, to stop it clotting. Depending on the region, rice, pork fat, cinnamon, oregano, cloves, paprika, onion, garlic, pine nuts, etc., can be added – the mixture is poured into a sausage casing (traditionally the intestines) and then boiled. The cooked morcillas are hung up to dry and in some regions they are smoked to preserve them and make them last longer. In Spain, the city of Burgos is famous for the quality of its morcilla, which contain onions herbs and rice.
Morcilla are commonly fried as tapas and used as an ingredient in stews and casseroles – where they would tend to dissolve. I fried mine in a little olive oil. This variety, from my butcher, are similar to those I used to buy in Cataluña and contain onion and pine nuts. They are quite rich and have a slight sweetness from the onion. Morcilla are cooked so you don’t need to cook them for a long time – they do have a tendency to split in the frying pan.
Morcilla come in a variety of shapes and you will find them in lots of Spanish recipes: