[Sca-cooks] Pantry products - Morcilla

Suey lordhunt at gmail.com
Sun Aug 5 17:59:44 PDT 2007

Phil Troy wrote:
". . . my wife and I discovered yesterday that the local South American 
bakery . . .We went in and pointed at objects that looked interesting. . 
.the most terrifying thing was the morcilla, which is a blood sausage, 
here made with rice, pork -- meat and blood, that is, and seasoned, 
apparently with cloves. . ."
    Wait a minute here! In Spain I sacrifice five pigs every year at the 
end of January instead of San Martin as the climate is warmer. A family 
comes from Monroy en Estremadura to do that but I am there to watch 
every killing. I do not participate in the blood part as it is an art. 
When the dagger servers the pig's heart the slaughter's mother and his 
wife alternate holding buckets to catch the spray of the blood which 
spouts out of the aorta. When a bucket contains enough blood she takes a 
stick and beats it for a time while the other woman replaces her 
catching more blood. The first then she takes a new bucket and replaces 
the other women to catch more blood until no more blood comes out. This 
beating process is necessary to prevent the blood from coagulating 
unlike that of a sheep.
    When our sheep are slaughtered in southern Chile traditionally we 
use is the same process as in Monroy, Spain all of which date back to 
the Middle Ages. We put a pan under the sheep's neck as the slaughter 
slits the neck. Mind you the art of killing is that with as little pain 
possible and hitting the right parts to make it super fast.
    In that of the pig, I find morcilla making an art. First for the 
difficulty of the blood and then because we have individual recipes in 
each household. I don't like blood sausage from Burgos made with rice. I 
like that of Leon with onion. I have never had cloves in my morcilla.We 
use black pepper, mace etc. not cayenne because I do not admit new world 
products or techniques.
    For me our "sacrifice of our pigs" is not disgusting. It is 
traditionally the survival of the fittest, our way of being able to eat 
during winter months - it is his life or mine which at times can be is 
scary. One year a friend sent me some of  black hooves that had mated 
and had produced from Huelva - the most delicious porkys in Spain. My 
slaughter man said he was afraid. Parent animals are much more dangerous 
than those that have not mated. He continued that any of them could 
escape and bite off the calf of his leg as the biggest weighed over a 
ton.  The calf of his leg is three times bigger than my thigh!
     A female escaped, I don't know how I scrabbled up the to the roof 
of our barbecue area where we do the slaughtering. The pig knocked down 
one of our strongest wire fences and ran to the river. Finally our men 
lassoed her on the bank and furiously brought her back to the 
slaughtering table. I stayed on the roof until she was dead I was so 
    On my pantry list I cautiously wrote "pork products" because I 
personally participate in the preparation of all others during the 
slaughter. Its a back breaking two day project after which we celebrate 
with 250 guests on the third day who I receive with dishpan hands filled 
with knife cuts and pin pricks. Yes, I like my chorizo and all that but 
for me the best is the morcilla for it lasts only a short time and is 
made with such loving hands. Morcilla is caviar for me.

, and then, when cooked, cut

into sections and sauced with a sweet yellow pepper sauce. Dzayumn!

Equally scary, because it could have been anything up to and  
including a fried baby head, for all I knew, was what turned out to  
be a variant on many cultures' papas rellenas. To some people this is  
a smallish fritter made with mashed potato and a ground beef filling,  
but this was half a potato (red-skinned, slightly waxy and sweet)  
with the pulp scooped out, stuffed with what appeared to be a chunky  
beef, rice, and sofrito stew (rumors on websites suggest it really  
should be oxtail stew; this might have been brisket, but it was  
killer rich), all dipped or rolled in a thick coating of mashed- 
potato batter (lots of egg yolk) and deep-fried until golden and crispy.

I think Ceandra enjoyed having the experience many people have when  
they go for dim sum: I'll have one of those, and one of those, and  
one of those, and is that too much food? Well, okay, I'll have one of  
those, too. Oh, and one of those. I came all this way, I can't leave  
without one of those, can I? (I think she's ballooned up to about 108  
pounds.) After several additions, our total came to about $14, until  
she who must be obeyed decided she wanted to try the chicken stew  
(genuine fowl), which came plated with a small portion of salad,  
rice, beans, and, mysteriously, to us, a small piece of corn on the  
cob. Now the bill was an unprecedented $17.

We finally left with our mountainous bag of food (we'd done a lot of  
walking in the morning and were tired), having been enthusiastic but  
unsuccessful in our bid to spend all of a $20 bill. Hmmm. We didn't  
try the tamale-like objects. Maybe next time.

I wonder if we got anything fermented...



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