Morcilla is one of the gems of Spanish gastronomy and is widely eaten throughout the whole country. But how is it made, what is its history and how does it taste? This Ultimate Guide to Morcilla goes under the skin of this wonderful Spanish blood sausage to reveal all.
Javier De La Hormaza, Basco’s founder, interviewed Alberto López Ríos, owner and Commercial Director of Embutidos Rios. This highly respected family business in Villarcayo, Burgos, has been producing authentic Morcilla de Burgos since 1930 and their traditional artisan Spanish black pudding is one of Basco’s best-selling delicacies.
Morcilla is a sausage used either as a tapas dish in its own right or as an ingredient in other meals. It is made using natural casings and filled with ingredients like rice, onion, pork fat, blood, salt, and spices. Morcilla varies from region to region, but the most highly regarded Morcilla is from Burgos, 150 miles southwest of Bilbao, in northwestern Spain.
Morcilla can be directly translated as ‘black pudding’, but it’s essential to retain the product’s specific name, Morcilla de Burgos. This is because black pudding, while somewhat similar, has significant differences in ingredients, how it is made and ultimately, its taste.
Morcilla de Burgos is the most renowned variety of Spanish blood sausage. It was initially created in the 18th century, when rice from Valencia was introduced to the Castilla region, making it a distinctive ingredient compared to other Morcilla varieties made in Spain. Morcilla de Burgos has been a part of Spanish gastronomy for over two centuries.
Alberto López Ríos explains; “Our Morcilla de Burgos contains extra high-quality rice with a Designation of Origin from Valencia. It also contains natural onion, pork fat and blood. It is spiced and seasoned with extra quality paprika with a Designation of Origin from La Vera in Extremadura, and extra quality black pepper imported directly from Sri Lanka. All these are encased in a 100% natural casing.”
In the case of Alberto’s Morcilla de Burgos Rios, following a stringent selection of raw materials, pork fat and onions are chopped, mixed with rice, and then the pork blood and spices are added. What this does is give a well-balanced and uniform mixture that is then filled into natural casings to form each piece. These are then cooked, allowed to cool and then vacuum-sealed for ultimate freshness.
With Morcilla de Burgos, it is almost impossible to separate the flavour from the texture. That is because it is renowned for its juiciness, softness, slightly spiced character and wonderfully harmonious balance. It’s this combination that really appeals to such a broad range of people.
Over to Alberto, again; “Morcilla de Burgos Rios is made from top-quality, entirely natural ingredients. It contains no additives or preservatives and is gluten and lactose-free. Our factory, which has specialised in the making of Morcilla de Burgos since 1930, remains faithful to the traditional recipe of our ancestors. It’s also accredited under the international quality and food safety standards of IFS and BRC.”
Accomplished chef Javier reveals that the simplest and most common way to cook Morcilla de Burgos is to slice it into approximately 1.5 / 2 cm thick pieces and place them on a frying pan with a drop of oil. On a medium heat, you need to seal both sides of the morcilla for around two minutes on each side to create a crispy coating with a soft succulent middle.
Alberto’s preferred way to grill his beloved Morcilla de Burgos is to slice it into pieces of about 1.5 / 2 cm and simply place them on a grill. “Make sure your blood sausage is an appropriate distance from the coals to avoid burning and seal both sides well,” insists Alberto.
In the UK, authentic artisan Spanish Morcilla is difficult to find, however Basco stocks and delivers direct to you a selection of the finest quality Morcilla, including our best-selling Morcilla de Burgos Rios. Other blood sausages are available from Basco including Montanegra Morcilla Iberica and Santa Rosalia Wagyu Black Pudding.
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