What Is Moronga? These Are Its Myths and Benefits

Moronga is a tripe stuffed with pork blood mixed with fat, seasonings, and spices. It is eaten in tacos, alone or with other ingredients.

What Is Moronga? These Are Its Myths and Benefits
Moronga is a sausage that is usually extracted from cow or pork, and is also wrapped in the animal's intestine.

According to the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mexican Gastronomy, moronga is tripe stuffed with pork blood mixed with fat, seasonings, and spices. This product is often considered controversial for the palate of the diners, because, just as some appreciate its flavor, some do not tolerate it; however, its existence has a reason for being: to make the most of the nutrients of the animal from which it is obtained.

There is not much information about the origin of moronga, since it began as a product that the Spaniards elaborated in their country during the home slaughter of pigs for family consumption, taking advantage of each of its parts. This is precisely the origin of "morcilla de Burgos", which currently has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) corresponding to the province of Burgos in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, Spain.

Moronga spread in Latin America during the Conquest and currently, some of the countries where it is consumed are Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, and Argentina, among others.

For its consumption, this product is generally crumbled or cut into thin or thick slices (depending on its intended use) and lightly fried in oil, before being prepared in tacos, alone or with a sauce. In Mexico, it is one of the best-known sausages from Spain, where the original preparation has been modified over time, depending on the ingredients of the region where it is made, which has happened similarly in Mexico.

From which animals is moronga obtained?

Recipes in Mexico vary widely, although in most of the country it is prepared from pork blood. In the state of Michoacán, there is a version with chicken blood and in Hidalgo, there are variants with lamb or goat. In Oaxaca, the custom is to prepare moronga with beef blood. On the coasts of Sinaloa, moronga used to be prepared with black loggerhead (sea turtle) blood; however, its capture and consumption are currently prohibited as a measure for the conservation of the species.

What are the health benefits of moronga?

Moronga is considered an economical food, so it can be part of the diet of many people, both in Mexico and in other parts of the world.

This product is considered nutritious because it is a good source of iron (500 to 1,000 parts per million of heme iron), a mineral considered important to keep blood cells in good condition and thus avoid anemia. In addition to iron, it contains other minerals such as zinc, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are necessary to maintain the health of the body. Moronga contains very low levels of carbohydrates, so it can be used in diets where you want to reduce the number of carbohydrates.

Another benefit that is recognized to the black pudding is its nutritional value, due to its content of both B vitamins and essential amino acids. Likewise, it has an important content of immunoglobulins that stimulate the defenses of the human organism. Like other foods of animal origin, this product should be consumed in moderation, mainly because of its caloric content.

What are the risks that can be caused by its consumption?

The main risks are associated with an inadequate collection of the main raw material, which is blood since this must be collected safely during the slaughter of the animal. If the blood is not used immediately, it should be refrigerated or frozen for later use in the preparation of blood sausage formulations, thus making it possible to meet safety requirements and generate a product with sufficient microbiological and sensory quality.

It is also important to take care of the microbiological quality of the rest of the ingredients in the formulation of this product, as well as of the casings used to stuff the products, before cooking, which is achieved by maintaining safe suppliers.

Which cooking method is the most appropriate to take advantage of its benefits and reduce its risks?

Once the blood sausages have been stuffed, they are cooked with water and allowed to cool rapidly. The cooking time is not uniform for all black puddings, so it will be determined by the temperature of the mixture and the caliber of the casing; for example, a black pudding stuffed in a 32 mm casing should be cooked for 40 minutes at 80°C, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 75°C.

Is it risky to make moronga at home?

In countries such as Spain, where the consumption of this product is common, the preparation of homemade black pudding is considered a family tradition. However, to achieve a product free of sanitary risks, it is necessary to work with extreme care, since the blood used as the main ingredient must be collected safely and kept refrigerated for the shortest possible time before use, as well as taking care to avoid possible sources of contamination when selecting the rest of the ingredients. If these requirements are not met, it is best to avoid risks.

The consumption of moronga in Mexico

In the state of Chihuahua, moronga is prepared by seasoning it with mint, onion, and salt; although there is also the custom of stewing it with serrano chile, cilantro, and onion, to be later eaten in the form of tacos or served with beans. In Mexico City, it is served particularly in fondas of the market of La Merced, it is reserved especially for those who seek it. In the State of Mexico, its preparation includes mint or mint, with onion, oregano, chive tails, plus a little fat, but also used to stew in green sauce.

In Hidalgo, moronga is prepared from sheep or goat blood, which is due to the high production of meat from these animal species, used for the preparation of barbecue or mixiotes. In Michoacán, this product is prepared without sausage, but with chicken stuffing, although in the region of Zitácuaro, blood is used in its preparation with pieces of tripe stewed in a sauce of onion, garlic, tomato, serrano chili, mint, cumin, and pepper.

In Oaxaca, onion and piquin chili are used in its preparation, where it is customary to eat it with soft tortillas, but it can also be served with scrambled eggs, onion, and chili. In the state of Tabasco, there are different types of moronga, the most common being made with pork blood and a series of chopped ingredients, such as amaxito (piquin) chili, sweet chili, parsley, chives, and pork fat.

Other styles can also be found, which, in addition to the above ingredients, include mint and small pieces of plantain. In addition, in this state there is another type of moronga, originally from the municipality of Macuspana, where it is customary to incorporate cooked rice, receiving the name of morcilla con arroz (blood sausage with rice). Finally, in Yucatan, for its preparation, pork blood is mixed with some chopped ingredients (brains, tomato, and chives).

In Mexico, this product can receive different names, which gives it cultural identity, so it is known in some regions as morcilla de puerco (Chihuahua), rellena or filling (in the center of the country), de sangre de res (Oaxaca), zoricua (Michoacán), while in the south and southeast of the country it is known as morcilla or mormollo.

In other parts of the world, this type of product is also consumed, taking different names: Boudin Noir in France, Blutwurst in Germany and Austria, Kaszanka in Poland, and Mustamakkara in Finland. Other countries on the European continent where the black pudding is traditionally consumed are Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

By researcher Armida Sánchez Escalante, Source: CIAD