Middle Eastern Lamb Merguez Sausage
I must confess that sausages are generally not my thing. Perhaps it is that pop you get from biting into the casing, or the often greasy meatiness you get from the traditional fatty pork sausage. These merguez sausages, however, are quite different – more a long style kofte they have a beautiful crispy texture and have that punchy fragrance associated with much North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.
They are fantastically versatile too, often found in tagines, casseroles and wrapped in flat breads like a kebab. If you haven’t tried them before and you like a bit of spice, then this is a MUST MAKE!
This recipe is a classic example of how a well stocked spice pantry can transform a dish. Using the bare minimum of ingredients these sausages are quite honestly a taste sensation. Crispy, juicy, flavoursome, and a little bit spicy. Pack them for a picnic lunch alongside a thermos of fresh mint tea and go and find a secluded spot somewhere to enjoy them!
See this dish as part of a MEAL PLAN
Makes: 4 sausages
Prep time: 20 minutes
250g lamb mince (or lamb shoulder if you are mincing the meat yourself)
1 tbsp harissa
2 cloves garlic
1/3 tsp cayenne
1/3 tsp cumin
1/3 tsp coriander seeds
1/3 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
In a dry frying pan toast the fennel seeds, cumin and coriander seeds. Once fragrant, grind into a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.
In a large bowl mix the ground spices with the lamb mince (including the smoked paprika and cayenne). Add in the crushed garlic cloves, harissa and plenty of salt and mix thoroughly. You really want to knead the meat, squashing it through your fingers until the mixture turns a beautiful reddish pink colour. Form into 4 equal sized sausages.
Next, wipe clean the pan you toasted the spices in and set it over a medium-high heat with a splash of oil. Cook the sausages for about 5-7 minutes until they have a crispy outside. Rest the sausages for a further 5 minutes so they stay nice and tender.
If you are not a fan of spicy food, then leave out the cayenne. Substitute with a crack of black pepper instead.
In the pictures we had them in sandwiches with garlic sauce and strips of cucumber, pickled gherkin, carrot, pepper, spring onions and kohlrabi.
Grill them on the barbecue and have with a crunchy salad for a healthier option.
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