Friday, January 22, 2010

Blood sausage is better than it sounds

The other day, I bought morcilla -- the polite Spanish name for blood sausage -- at the Spanish Table to make the intriguing Moro recipe for migas, which the authors describe as a thrifty and traditional way to use up stale bread.

You fry onions, green peppers, and pancetta in olive oil and 100 grams of lard, which, if you can't visualize it, is a hunk the size of a man's fist. That's a lot of lard. When the onions and peppers are soft and caramelized, you pour this fatty melange over chunks of bread and add the morcilla.
Bake. Top each serving with one or two poached eggs.

Looks like hash.

Morcilla, which is made from beef blood and onions, could be perceived as gross. It isn't gross, it's rich and satisfying. Like stuffing, the whole migas ensemble was crispy in places, and delectably soggy and melty in others, delicious and greasy, or delicious BUT greasy, I haven't figured out which. The first night I was unequivocally enthusiastic; we had the leftovers for dinner the next night and afterwards I felt like I needed to drink a big glass of ice cold vinegar.

I also served chard, blanched and dressed in oil and lemon juice, per the basic Moro recipe.
Pretty. Not so pretty in the finished dish, but tasty and healthy.
In other news, I reviewed P.D. James's new book about detective fiction here. It's an impressive and fascinating book, but will probably only appeal to fans of detective fiction. I interviewed James for a story many years ago. She was patient with my endless questions, forthcoming, intelligent, and an altogether lovely person. I was starstruck.


  1. Love morcilla; I usually get my fix of Argentine morcilla in NYC; will have to look for Spanish morcilla around. Last time I was in Madrid, I tasted a really nice one with foie added (they serve it at La Ardosa).
    Need to check the P. D. James book; not a fan of detective novels, but definitely a fan of P. D. James.


  2. Thanks for the link to the review! I always enjoy P.D. James, and this history looks intriguing.

    I'm always very impressed at the prestigious periodicals and websites your work appears in. My father sends me newspaper and magazine clippings (hard copy, snail mail) he finds of interest, and recently he sent me your Newsweek chicken article. Obviously, since writing is your profession and you are very good at it, it should be no surprise that your work appears in national periodicals. But, since I discovered you through your food blog, I was indeed pleasantly surprised and have repeatedly found it a bonus that you are a professional writer and reviewer as well. Thanks again. It's always a rewarding experience to read your posts.

  3. Your first line makes me wonder if there is an impolite Spanish name for blood sausage. I had sanguinaccio (the polite Italian name for blood sausage) last night at Incanto in SF. It was because I read your post on morcilla that I decided to try it. Thanks--it was amazing. They paired it with a cold white wine which surprised me, but it was delicious and better than vinegar, I think.

  4. Love the description of food so rich you want to quaff a glass of "ice-cold vinegar" afterward! That's true of so many foods ... there should be a whole category of dishes classed by that phenomenon.

  5. Oz -- Morcilla with foie is something to wrap my head around. It sounds great, though probably best in small quantities. Where do you get Argentine morcilla in NYC?
    Sobaka -- Thank-you! That is the nicest note and it made my day.
    Susan -- There is probably no impolite Spanish word for blood sausage. Nothing could be worse than "blood sausage." I love Incanto!
    Owney -- I think it's why I like kombucha, because it reminds me of vinegar.

  6. Newsweek? Missed that one.
    The morcilla was super. And I'm sure Morticia Addams would approve of any dish with blood sausage.

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  11. Why am I just now seeing this post? I love love love morcilla. Bread soaked in lard, though? Okay, who am I kidding, it could be epic. Once.

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