returning to the matanza…

warning: this post is most definitely not vegetarian friendly, nor is it for the squeamish…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!

i have blogged about morcilla and the matanza before.
But i have never been quite so directly involved…. One of our pigs was due to be killed. Normally they are taken to the butcher for this but because we wanted to make morcilla or black pudding, the butcher came here to kill it so we could collect the blood, then the animal is taken to the butchers.

So how do i write this…it was a strange, uncomfortable, surreal experience for me…I found myself in the dark on a stormy night watching the animal being killed. The pig is stunned first with an electronic gun, but of course when its throat is cut it struggles. The butcher asks me to hold one of his legs, to stop it from hurting my mum who is collecting the blood (yes i know how this sounds)…
I am a little shocked, i was already a little freaked out by the process, i did not expect to be so involved. However i do strongly believe that if you eat it, if you cook it and eat it…you need to be able to deal with where it came from. I am shocked, the pigs leg feels warm (of course), almost human. I close my eyes hold on tight and wait for it to stop twitching.

The butcher i must say, did the job by himself that once took 4 men to do, he did it all so quickly and efficiently and without fuss that it was as “humane” as it could possible be for the animal given the circumstances. BUT it is shocking, no doubt about it …The blood meanwhile needs to be stirred constantly in one direction the second it hits the pan. The pan already contains water and a peeled raw onion, anti-coagulants apparently and you need to keep stirring till it cools down completely. i stir away for half an hour or so.

So now that the main ingredient has been gathered, the morcilla can be made. For the full recipe see here. Once all the dried fruit, flour, spices and bread has been added to the blood it is still surprisingly liquid, but it will set during the cooking process. Next the skins of the large intestine are filled with the mixture. You must be careful not to over fill them…

(My photos of this process looked so gory that i went outside and photographed through the window to “dampen” the effect a little!)

The puddings are then boiled – this is a very delicate process as if the skins burst at this point, you lose the whole pudding. They must be suspended in a large pan and must not touch the bottom (again see here for details) and the water must be kept only just boiling.

The puddings will take anything from 45 mins to 1 hour 30 mins depending on the thickness. You test them by pinching them with a sewing needle. If no liquid emerges, the pudding is cooked…

If you are lucky enough to have a lareira – an open fire place common to traditional galician houses that is ideal for smoking and curing, you can hang the puddings there for a few days, otherwise hang them somewhere dry and well ventilated. In a few days the puddings will be ready to be sliced and fried and they also freeze beautifully…

fried morcilla – you can see the pine nuts and pieces of figs in the slices…i know it does not look pretty but it tastes divine, sweet, a little salty, a little crispy on the outside and smooth in the middle…


tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

3 responses to “returning to the matanza…

  1. Hi Margarita
    I came across your blog about the matanza and wondered if you might give permission for it to be reproduced. Our new website (it goes live tonight April 17), features articles such as this and would love to include yours. We’d be delighted to include a link back to you blog.
    Best wishes

  2. Pingback: lemons, mrs beeton and colombia… | mvp – work in progress

  3. Pingback: tortilla de maiz y chicharrones or what to do with that maize flour… | mvp - work in progress

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