Blood Sausage Empanadas – Pastelillos de Morcilla

 Empanadas de Morcilla

Feliz día de Reyes!  Happy Epiphany day!  Today is technically the last day of the Puerto Rican holiday season.  My family is gathering at my sister’s place to celebrate.  This year we are forgoing the traditional Christmas menu of roast pork, rice with pigeon peas, and guineos en escabeche, so I dropped by my friendly neighborhood lechonera yesterday to pick up the “last” bit of lechón and morcillas, also known as blood sausage or black pudding.

Freshly made morcilla gets transferred from the kitchen to the display at Angelito’s Place, the lechonera I mostly buy from.

Morcillas are sausages made with pork fat and blood, cooked rice, garlic, orégano, recao, and spicy peppers or hot sauce.  The tradition of making these of sausages came to the island through Spain, specifically the city of Burgos.  Morcilla is especially popular around Christmas time.  In order to prepare the whole-roasted porks so popular during the holidays, the innards are removed from the pig and the blood is drained out.   Nothing goes to waste!  All the ingredients for the morcilla are cooked until the mixture reaches 180F˚. The mixture is stuffed into the thoroughly cleaned intestines or synthetic casings. While it can be enjoyed ‘as is’, they are especially good when the casings are crisped in a skillet or a grill.

During our honeymoon in Argentina, I tried my first morcilla empanada.  Azafrán, a restaurant in Mendoza, offered a fantastic trio of empanadas: sausage with caramelized onion, sweetbreads with mushrooms, and blood sausage with Parmesan cheese.  Eduardo quickly grabbed the chorizo one, leaving me to enjoy the other two “weirder” ones.  He had no qualms about wolfing down two of  these pastelillos I made yesterday, thankfully!

Thanks to the widespread availability of empanada/pastelillo dough rounds, making these tasty snacks was a cinch.  If you cannot find them at the regular or Latin market, this would be a good recipe to try.

GF360˚ Pastelillos de Morcilla

  • 1 pound cooked morcilla (whole links/unsliced)
  • 1 package 6″ empanada/pastelillo rounds
  • vegetable oil for frying

Remove the morcilla from its casing and place it on a bowl.  Mash it with a fork to make it easier to spoon.

Moisten the pre-cut dough around the edges.

Spoon the about two large tablespoons of the morcilla on one side of the empanada dough, carefully leaving room to seal it.

Fold over the dough from the other side, pressing it around the filling.  Get the edges of the dough to touch.

Press a fork all through the edges to seal the dough.  When done with the first side, flip the empanada and repeat this step.

Fry the pastelillos in a few inches of vegetable or canola oil until golden brown.  Drain in paper towels and wait until they cool off a little before biting in.

As with most frituras,  any un-fried leftovers can be frozen and fried later without any major problems.  We have four of these pastelillos in the freezer, waiting until the next morcilla craving hits us.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

3 Responses to “Blood Sausage Empanadas – Pastelillos de Morcilla”

  1. January 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    I came over to your Link, Adriana, to look at your Herb-speckled Spaetzle but I think you didn’t make it this week. A tip from me, as you already know, wait until I send you the Link for the $6.99 spaetzle maker. I was delighted, however, to read this Post about empanadas. I didn’t know that I could buy empanadas/pastelillo dough rounds in a latino grocery store. I’m sure if there is such a product (and, there is) that the Las Vegas area will have it. Although the blood sausage, not so much, I will send you my first picture os completed empanadas. I could make them, of course, but I haven’t been so inclinded, obviously. Thank you. If you remember, you introduced me to Sriracha about two years ago and I have been using it ever since. Something needs a little kick? Sriracha to the rescue.

  2. March 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Amo las morcillas, aunque siempre las comi solas a la parrilla. Pero estoy empezando a ver otras recetas y me encantan. Estas empanadas parecen increibles Adriana! Y el trio que probaron en mendoza ni te cuento!


  1. Puerto Rican Christmas Recipe Roundup - Great Food 360˚ - January 1, 2015

    […] with impromptu gatherings.  Surely someone has a deep fryer waiting to come out to fry these pastelillos de morcilla (fried morcilla turnovers).  Morcilla – pork blood sausage – is a delicacy beloved by […]

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