The chicken pinchos moruños. | Andrew Valente

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At one time black puddings were eaten all over Europe and Scandinavia and that included various
parts of England and Scotland. In 15th century England a black pudding was made with the blood and fat of a porpoise with the addition of oatmeal, and was seasoned with pepper and ginger.

It was initially boiled, like all black puddings, and then lightly fried. This recipe was served only in
the homes of noble families, probably for breakfast. British black pudding is nowadays eaten mainly in the Midlands, the north of England and in Scotland.

France has more variations on the black pudding theme than any other country and every year holds a competition at Mortagne-au-Perche in Normandy. The category for black puddings made with cereals has been won on several occasions by British entries.

The morcilla de arroz from Burgos was worth a 10
The morcilla de arroz from Burgos was worth a 10.

Spain also has some nice options in its range of black puddings. Mallorca’s version is the botifarrón that is extremely popular and is sold at shops and supermarkets all over the island. Restaurants serve it fried or grilled, sometimes with a couple of fried eggs as a starter. You also come across it in soupy rice dishes such as arròs brut.

Black pudding is known as morcilla on the mainland and those from Asturias and Burgos are especially famous. The Asturian morcilla is an essential part of the fabada, Spain’s most celebrated white beans dish.

Burgos has two kinds of black pudding that are known all over the country. One has a rice filler and is known as morcilla de arroz. The other has an onion filler and is called morcilla de cebolla. Both are widely available in island supermarkets and restaurants. The morcilla de arroz is more popular here than the onion version.

The choricitos al vino
The choricitos al vino.

Of all the Spanish black puddings I have tried, the morcilla de arroz from Burgos is the one that is most like English and Scottish versions. I use it at home, I order it in restaurants and I think it is most enjoyable. It is, however, nothing like the authentic morcilla de arroz from Burgos I had at the Doña Perfecta restaurant, a place that specialises in dishes from Leon and Castilla.

The industrial morcilla de arroz from Burgos we are used to in Mallorca, isn’t as thick as the one in the picture. Most people cut it into slices as thick as your finger and fry it until both sides are crispish
on the surface. The slices cut nicely and I think this morcilla is absolutely splendid. But it has very little to do with a genuine morcilla de arroz.

What we get here is an industrial version that shouldn’t be allowed to call itself morcilla de arroz de Burgos. They don’t make them like that in Burgos.

The roughly chopped tomato salad
The roughly chopped tomato salad.

The authentic morcilla de arroz from Burgos in the picture is thicker than the industrial one and was fried or grilled whole, but at some stage it was cut into very thick slices (at least two male fingers wide) but still looked as if it were whole. When these thick slices were cut through, the filling disintegrated and became completely loose — as it does when we cut into a genuine haggis. Industrial haggis can be sliced and fried for breakfast, but the real McCoy is never like that.

So if you want a pukka morcilla de arroz from Burgos, Doña Perfecta is the place to go. I imagine there must be other places serving the real thing, but I don’t know of any. At Doña Perfecta they also do choricitos from Bierzo.

FOOD

Doña Perfecta’s specialities are from the mainland’s León-Castilla area and they are all authentic. Their morcilla de arroz from Burgos (a black pudding) was especially memorable.

THE VERDICT

The owner and the cook are from the Leon-Castilla area, and so are many of their regular customers. That’s why they have a supplier who sends them authentic charcuterie from that part of Spain. I think there must be similar places (especially bars) on the outskirts of Palma, but I don’t know of any. So this is a good place to remember when you want to eat something that’s genuinely Spanish. The morcilla de arroz from Burgos was a beauty: the filling disintegrated nicely and had a lovely texture
and taste that were worth a 10 rating. It was served with traditional roasted red pepper which is a very nice pairing. The choricitos are little chorizos that were originally made so the cook or charcutier could test the mixture for texture, taste and lubricity. But these little chorizos became so popular with everyone who tasted them that they were eventually one of the charcutier’s regular sausages. They are fried and then finished off with a good splash of white wine. They had a superb coarse and loose texture and were beautifully seasoned with a smoky paprika. The North African chicken brochettes was a dish of the day that was decided at 12.15 pm with the restaurant opening at 1.30 pm, so the chicken didn’t have time to imbibe the traditional warm North African spices and some olive oil. It lacked flavour and could have been juicier. The chopped fresh tomatoes were served at room temperature and that allowed their tartish flavours to come through.

THE BILL

Tomates aliñados, €6
Choricitos al vino, €10
Morcilla de arroz, €10
Pinchos moruños, €13
2 cañas, €4.40

Total cost with VAT: €43.

THE PLACE

Restaurante Doña Perfecta, Avda Argentina 4, Palma. Tel:971-735809. Closed on Sundays. This is a place with high tables and high chairs but if, like me, you want an ordinary table and an ordinary
chair, make a reservation and tell them so, because there aren’t many of them.