So of course you all know that I used to be a horrifically picky eater as a child, and that only began to change about ten years ago. Not only did I expand my horizons to embrace formerly icky mainstream ingredients like say, broccoli, or cabbage, I’ve also become quite an adventurous eater as well. I’ve tried, and liked, some weird stuff over the past decade – veal brains, grasshoppers, duck tongue, kangaroo meat, shrimp heads, Rocky Mountain oysters (Google it if you think it’s seafood)…
And yet, there are still lines I have trouble crossing. Like raw oysters. If you cook or fry the oyster, fine, I’ll eat it. But raw oysters are essentially loogies of the sea, and I just can’t do it. Blood sausage, politely known as morcilla, is another one I have real trouble with. I first tasted it about eighteen months ago, when Matt and I vacationed for a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One night we dressed up to the nines and dined at an authentic Argentine steakhouse, where our appetizers were Provoleta (best thing ever) and a link of blood sausage. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “blood sausage” is not a euphemism. It’s exactly what you think it is.
I gave it the ol’ college try, but it just weirded me out so much. Gave me the willies, even though it really doesn’t taste bad at all. It was purely a mental thing. So imagine my surprise when we move from Queens to Hoboken, NJ, only to find that our local Shop Rite, of all grocery stores, regularly stocks morcilla. I promised Matt, who doesn’t share my squeamishness on this issue, that I’d cook it eventually. Nine months after we settled in, I delivered.
This chicken dish is quite lovely, rich and light at the same time, creamy and flavorful; I’m happy to report that Matt loved it! And I happily ate the chicken and did eat a few bites of the sausage. I tried, people, I tried. If you are like me and just can’t do it, I’d sub in some Spanish chorizo. Enjoy!
Source: A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
8 slices of morcilla (blood sausage), or Spanish chorizo
½ large onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
¾ cup dry sherry, plus more if needed
3 ½ tbs heavy cream
1 tbs toasted pine nuts
1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet that can hold the chicken and sausage pieces in a snug, even layer. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and brown in the skillet on both sides for color. Don’t cook it through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the sausage pieces to the pan and cook in the chicken drippings lightly on both sides, then remove it and set it aside with the chicken. Discard all but 1 tbs fat in the pan, if necessary, but don’t dislodge any brown bits stuck on the bottom.
Add the onion to the pan and brown it lightly. Lower the heat if it’s browning too fast. You don’t need it to soften. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to get those flavorful browned bits off and into the sauce. Return the chicken and sausage to the pan in a snug, even layer and place the skillet into the oven. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a chicken thigh registers 165 F.
There should still be sherry left in the pan mixing with the juices, but if not, add up to 4 tbs more and stir it into the juices. Put the skillet over medium heat and pour in the cream. Heat until it bubbles, then shut off the heat, scatter in the pine nuts and parsley, and serve immediately.