Chef's Recipes

Morcilla-stuffed squid with lentils and saffron alioli

Australian Gourmet Traveller Spanish recipe for morcilla-stuffed squid with lentils and saffron alioli by Brian Villahermosa from Sydney restaurant Catalonia.

By Brian Villahermosa
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 1 hr 35 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Morcilla-stuffed squid with lentils and saffron alioli
“My wife and I were delighted by the stuffed squid we ate at Kirribilli’s Catalonia. It was quite a change from the usual tapas. Would you ask chef Brian Villahermosa for the recipe?”
Barry Davidson, Longueville, NSW
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, , GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant’s name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.
At Catalonia, this dish is served with the squid tentacles fried in a light herb tempura batter. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 125 gm long-grain rice, such as basmati
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 250 gm morcilla (about 2), skin removed, thickly sliced widthways (see note)
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 12 baby squid (about 800 gm), cleaned and tentacles reserved
  • 20 gm butter
  • To serve: coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley and extra-virgin olive oil
Spiced lentils
  • 300 gm small green lentils, soaked in cold water overnight, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25 gm (¼ cup) fennel seeds, roasted and finely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 1½ tbsp coriander seeds, roasted and finely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 800 ml chicken stock
Saffron alioli
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp chardonnay vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 150 ml olive oil


  • 1
    Heat half the olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft (5-7 minutes). Add rice, bay leaf and chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook, covered with a lid, until rice is tender (10-12 minutes). Season to taste, and set aside.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add morcilla and stir occasionally until morcilla starts to break down (7-10 minutes). Be careful, it may spit. Transfer to a bowl, cool, then stir through rice mixture, add mint, season to taste and cool.
  • 3
    Spoon rice mixture into squid, leaving 1cm at top to secure with a toothpick (there may be stuffing leftover). Refrigerate until needed.
  • 4
    For spiced lentils, rinse lentils under cold running water, drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add vegetables and garlic and cook until soft (7-10 minutes). Add spices and stir until fragrant (3 minutes). Stir through lentils and chicken stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until tender (35-40 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, for saffron alioli, combine saffron, vinegar and 30ml water in a small saucepan over low heat until infused (5 minutes). Cool, transfer to a bowl, add yolk, garlic, mustard and lemon juice, then gradually whisk in olive oil until thick and emulsified. Season to taste. Refrigerate until needed. Makes about 250ml.
  • 6
    Preheat oven to 180C. Melt butter in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add squid and cook, turning until golden (3-5 minutes), then transfer to oven and roast until opaque and cooked through (5-10 minutes). Thickly slice and serve with lentils, scattered with parsley, drizzled with olive oil and alioli to the side.


Morcilla is Spanish blood sausage and is available from Spanish delicatessens and select butchers.

  • Author: Brian Villahermosa