Morcilla de Burgos the King of Blood Sausages
I love boudin noir and black pudding but Morcilla de Burgos is my favourite. It’s the Spanish blood sausage. Unlike Black pudding that is made with oats, onion and pigs blood or boudin noir with apples and onions, Morcilla de Burgos is made with rice, onions, spices and pigs blood. I first tried Morcilla with my Spanish friend Carlos in Cork, and it quickly became my favourite blood sausage. I even went to Burgos in Spain to taste the original! Blood sausage, love it or hate it has been around for centuries, the French even have a competition for the best one held by the Brotherhood of the Knights of Blood Sausage Tasting. Morcilla is quite challenging to find in Melbourne, I did get it from Casa Iberica once, so you could try your luck there, or if you aren’t the squeamish type you could have a crack at making it. Which is what I’m going to do.
Now, I have a recipe but finding fresh pig’s blood in Melbourne could be difficult!
I contacted a couple of butchers to see if they had pigs blood and The butcher and the Cook came up with the goods. I arranged with Steve the pig blood dealer to collect the blood on Tuesday. Next stop Casa Iberica for some Bomba rice and hot paprika, the rest of the ingredients I have at home, apart from the hog casings which I will get from Sausages made Simple in West Melbourne.
The dry ingredients I roasted, scaled, ground and mixed together. I finely diced the kilo of onions, sweated them off for 35 minutes in the pork lard with the bay leaf then I added the Bomba rice. I want the rice to soak up some of the onion flavour and the pork lard, so I leave it overnight. The next day I go to collect the pig’s blood and after I was told they could get it, was told they couldn’t! Nightmare, it turns out their supplier could only deliver 120 liters at a time and would not take out 1 liter for little old me. So the hunt was on to find 1 liter of pig’s blood on a Tuesday at 1pm in Melbourne. I asked around a few butchers at the Vic market and was directed to Footscray market. For those of you that don’t know Footscray market it is pretty much a Vietnamese market, so pig’s blood should be easy to find. The first butcher had beef blood but no pig’s and the next butcher only had ‘set’ blood. ‘Set’ blood looks like blood jelly. I asked about it and was told if I whisked it, it would break down. I was quite worried about this as I really wanted fresh blood, but as I was now desperate I had to settle for the set stuff.
After getting home I stick blended the blood and it came up pretty good, next I poured the blood through a sieve on to the rice/lard mix then added the spices. I cut the hog casings into 90cm pieces, washed the salt off, tied up one end and started filling. I got 7 x 90cm sausages so was super happy. Okay time to cook these bad boys. With the water set to 70C with the immersion circulator I left the sausages to cook for 1hr. This is when it all went a bit Pete Tong! The rice was still f**king hard!!! I couldn’t believe it, devastated is not the word. Heartbroken, I left the sausages in the water for another hour to see if the rice would soften a bit more, but it didn’t. I am pretty pissed off at this point. Not sure what happened but it was either the blood not being fresh liquid blood or not enough liquid in the recipe for the rice to absorb. I chilled the sausages in the sink with iced water then left them overnight just in case it would be different after I cooked some in the morning, like semi crunchy rice is okay, right? No, its not, the next morning I fried a piece but the f**king rice was still crunchy. I couldn’t look at them any longer and tossed them in the garbage. I will make these again, but, 2 things, I will use fresh liquid pigs blood and I will par cook the rice in pork stock after sautéing the onions.
Not all recipes work first time. But if you learn from what happened and make it work the next time you’re winning.