Morcilla is the Spanish version of blood sausage. It is a delicate sausage made with pork blood and rice. Unless you are a fan of these you may think it strange that I use the word delicate but, unlike many other versions, the Spanish style ones are not coarse or made dry with oatmeal. With only a little rice added morcilla are quite soft and moist in texture. Even the name in Spanish has a lovely, soft, lilting sound (don’t forget to lisp) compared with black pudding, Blutwurst or Boudin noir.
Knowing that it is blood does put some people off and maybe black puddling has not been to your taste in the past but it is worth giving morcilla a go as it’s a very different product. I have made a blood terrine and it is a bit intimidating looking at the bowl of deep red blood but strangely when combined with the sweet spices and set it is really quite delicious in flavour. Countless Italian children know this as it is often their treat at the annual family pig slaughter when the whole animal is converted into sausages, salami, proscuitto and the head roasted so the cheeks are amazingly tender – classic nose to tail eating.
You may have come across morcilla as part of a breakfast offering served with poached eggs or in baked eggs and that works very well but recently I thought I would add the morcilla to a slow cooked dish of fresh borlotti beans. Seems I was not being very original as the Spanish do a dish, called fabada, but with butter beans, morcilla and chorizo. The flavours of sweet and smoked paprika in a tomato-based sauce full of beans and bit-sized pieces of the dark sausage is pretty hard to resist, believe me. You can pick up some really fresh morcilla from Casa Iberica in the tiny bit of Johnston Street, Fitzroy that is forever Spain. You can’t miss the colourful murals on the corner shop near Nicholson St. While there, I recommend you collect some Manchego cheese and some great value quince paste for afters. Casa Iberica is a great little grocery shop with everything you need for your Spanish or Portuguese pantry, including salt cod, empanadas, spices, chocolate, Portuguese custard tarts (Sat) as well as a good range of terracotta cookware and paella pans. Practise your Spanish on the Señora but don’t forget to get the morcilla, they are really the best in town.
New: Casa Iberica has opened another and bigger store at 154-156 Fulham Rd, Alphington, where they manufacture fresh smallgoods on the premises. Opening hours are Tues-Sat 9:30am to 3:30pm.