Photo: Greg DuPree; Styling: Lindsey Lower, Torie Cox
This recipe for traditional Latin blood sausage is fairly mild. Despite its dramatic looks and deep color, it is reminiscent of high-quality bologna. It's salty like most sausages, and the clove-infused sofrito adds some backbone and depth. Texturally, the rice gives it body, and the chunks of pork add some pleasantly chewy bits. Pork blood is available from some butchers, but is more widely-available at Asian or Latin markets.
Serves 36 (serving size: 3 oz.)
1. Melt duck fat in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until lightly caramelized, 8 to10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; add paprika, salt, and cloves, and cook, stirring often, until rust color and very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove mixture from skillet, and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
2. Combine onion mixture, rice, and pork belly in a bowl. Pour pork blood over pork belly mixture, and stir until well combined.
3. Cut casings into 6 (2-foot-long) sections. Run water through each section, making sure there are no tangles or holes. Tie a knot in 1 end of each casing section. Attach opposite end to the spout (at least 1/4-inch in diameter) of a funnel. Divide pork belly mixture into 6 equal portions. Spoon 1 portion pork mixture into funnel; use the handle of a wooden spoon to plunge pork belly mixture into casing, ensuring it goes through spout into casing. Repeat process with remaining casing sections and pork belly mixture.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer with a temperature of 160°F. (It is important to maintain a water temperature of 160°F. If it goes above 170°F, the blood will curdle when cooked.) Carefully add sausages to water, in batches if necessary, and cook without disturbing 15 minutes. Remove sausages; roll into a coil on a large platter or baking sheet, and refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight to set.
5. Slice sausages crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Heat oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high; add sausage rounds, and cook until browned and warmed through, about 3 minutes per side.
Note: You can also grill the links whole over medium-high heat and slice to serve.