Spanish Supper with a Lancashire Twist

We’re trying another of Diana Henry’s recipes here from A Bird in the Hand. This is actually the very first recipe listed in the book, so I’m not sure why it’s taken us so long to cook it. Technically it’s a Spanish dish, but calls for morcilla – Spanish blood sausage – which we don’t have easy access to. However, we do live in the north west of England, close to Bury – home of Bury black pudding which makes an excellent (and regional!) substitute.

I was born and raised with black pudding and never thought anything of it, so it was a bit of a shock to me when I discovered that some people are squeamish about it. There was a local butcher (Thornley’s) in my home town of Chorley which was renowned for its black pudding. They had their own abattoir, and my School used to organise field trips there… but fortunately the place had closed by the time I reached that age!

When my sister got married, we had various nibbles before the main meal and one of them was a black pudding canape… I remember that they all vanished quickly because they were so tasty, and then some of the guests began to feel regret when they realised what they had eaten. They still enjoyed them though.

I finally converted Mark to black pudding with a stay at the fabulous Jesmond Dene House. Their breakfast came included black pudding and Mark had been so impressed with everything else we ate there, he gave it a go. I wouldn’t say that he’s as much of a fan of the stuff as I am, but he certainly has grown to like it.

Anyway, this recipe is pretty simple. Brown the chicken, then fry the black pudding. Take them out and fry the onion, and deglaze the pan with 200ml of dry sherry. Put the chicken and black pudding back inside, put a lid on and put the whole thing in the oven for 40 minutes. When it’s done, add a swirl of double cream and some toasted pine nuts. We also had some mashed potatoes on the side to help mop up all the creamy and meaty juices.

I liked this one a lot, but then I’m biased. Don’t let the black pudding put you off – it’s a cracking taste!