Morcilla de Arroz (Blood Sausage) : Fermented Cabbage : Airy Potato Mash : Pork and Port Reduction

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Today I finally got in the mail a few ingredients I’ve been wanting to use and experiment with. It’s kind of weird to buy food online, but I guess that’s how it works these days. They are all of spanish origin. At long last! I have some salt cod, can’t wait to make a good omelet with it. I got  anchovies, canned not jarred, but spanish canned products are delicious so I’m looking forward to using them. I also got a few slices of pata negra ham. Pata negra ham is a wonderful product. I don’t think I like any cured ham as much as I like this one. It is pricey though. A whole hind leg goes easily for over $1,200 US dollars. But it is worth buying a few slices and trying it, or go nuts if you got the bucks. It is quite an experience.  I wouldn’t dare cooking with it though, it is one of those flavors that cooking can only but ruin. On top of that I got some salchichon form the same kind of pig used in the making of the pata negra ham and seasoned with black pepper, very dry very aged, amazing. Lastly I got 4 blood sausages. They are called morcillas in spain, these ones in particular also contain cooked rice. They are very popular in stews and soups. Very flavorful, and can be a bit spicy from the pepper and paprika.

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Tonight, I prepared a really quick dinner. I had pretty much everything ready. I had homemade sauerkraut and it was “ripe”,  great acidity level and saltiness. Super crunchy too! I had a couple of russet potatoes that needed to be used (some prefer yukon or creamer potatoes for mash, I think they all can make pretty awesome mashes) I had some leftover pork stock I made from the bones of the boston butt roast. And finally, I had these beautiful blood sausages. So I got to work. Keep in mind that I not always measure things as I cook, unless I know of full-proof recipe or in the case of baking/pastry. I adjust quantities as I go, but the suggested ingredients below are a good approximation I hope.

Ingredients:

1 morcilla sausage per person

2 russet potatoes, skin on

2 Tbsp of butter (add more if needed)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (add more if needed)

1 cup pork stock

3 Tbsp Port wine (add to taste)

Sauerkraut to garnish to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Method:

I will quickly go over each component as this dish is technically very easy and doesn’t need a whole lot of explaining. A stand mixer would be nice for when making the potato mash, but the usual/traditional approach to making that works just as well, it just yields a slightly denser mash. The rest doesn’t require any “special” gear.

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Morcilla de Arroz (Blood sausage):

This is pretty simple. Pat the sausage(s) dry with some paper towels. Heat some olive oil on a skillet. I used a nonstick. Don’t let the olive oil burn. When oil is shimmering, add the sausage. Prick the sausage with a toothpick or fork. It can tear open or burst otherwise (not like it will explode but you know what I’m saying). Pan sear the link(s) until golden brown (or very very dark brown close to black). The internal temperature of the sausage should be about 60C-65C or 140F-149F. Reserve. Sausages are already seasoned. No need to fuss with them.

Sauerkraut: 

Nothing to do here if you already have sauerkraut. Just make sure the sauerkraut is cold from the fridge, I like the temperature contrast with the hot ingredients. Strain it, so juices don’t spill all over the plate. Add to the plate. I make my own sauerkraut at home. It is fermented, not a vinegar pickled one. It is also extremely easy to make. Just shred some cabbage, add it to a container, sprinkle some sea salt, or kosher salt, or pickling salt over it, about a Tbsp per cabbage. Place another clean container that fits the first one over it, and place a weight over it to pressure the cabbage down. It will release water, the salt will make it do that. Those cabbage juices should eventually cover the cabbage, just keep that other container pressing down on it. Lacto fermenting bacteria in the air and the surface of the cabbage itself will get to work, and turn the cabbage into sauerkraut in a matter of 2 weeks.  You can check a very old post on this for more information.

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Airy Potato Mash:

Simple if you have a stand mixer or other electric hand mixer tools. Basically this is what I do. Place the potatoes whole and with the skin on in a plastic container filled with water. Place this in the microwave for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. You can use a regular pot over the stove, but the microwave just seemed more convenient today. Once done. Drain and add cold tap water to the container. Let sit there for a couple of minutes so you can peel without burning your fingers. Peel the potatoes. Add potatoes to the bowl of the stand mixer. Heat up the heavy cream and butter in the same pot used to cook the potatoes, just so there’s less stuff to clean. Warm it up for a minute. Add some of this cream/butter to the potatoes. Using the wire whisk attachment mix at low speed at first. Adjust salt and cream until you get the right consistency. Now set the mixer on high speed and mix for a couple of minutes. Use a spatula occasionally to help you through the process, and get the stuff at the bottom and on the walls of the bowl to get incorporated. Set aside when you’re happy with the texture and flavor. The longer you beat it the airier it gets. Also less lumps, although I kind of like some lumps in there sometimes. A potato ricer, food mill, hand masher, whatever you use, will do the trick, just don’t use a stick blender (immersion blender) or a food processor. The speed at which those blades spin will basically rupture the starch granules and turn your mash into a gooey unappetizing mess. I personally don’t like that texture.

Pork Port Reduction: 

Simply add the pork stock and port to a saucepan, add a bit of salt if needed, and boil it off until you’re left with a dark thick glaze. Extremely flavorful. I made pork stock from the bones of a pork roast. Boiled them for a couple of hours in a pressure cooker and strained it. Discarded the bones. Reduced the stock to about a third of the original water amount which was just enough water to cover the bones to begin with. If you don’t have pork stock. You can make your own stock  the same way with ham hocks, or some bacon, country ham, just keep in mind, those products have been smoked or seasoned in a certain way that will end up transferring to your stock and final dish. If you like their flavor, go nuts!

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To sum this up. Blood sausages aren’t a common ingredient we eat at home but it is worth trying. I personally love them, they have a very strong, unique flavor and texture. I remember not liking them much as a kid, but that eventually changed over time. Sauerkraut and this type of sausage paired incredibly well. Not all that surprising really. Pork sausage and fermented cabbage is a classic combo. The potato mash added great mouthfeel. It also balanced the whole plate taste wise, sauerkraut has an aggressive taste as does this blood sausage, the mashed potatoes added that layer of simplicity and smoothness. I personally think mashed potatoes are the best thing in the world. Wait, so it’s pork.  And yes, I used my cooking knife to eat dinner tonight. Until the next time!

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