Someone asked me recently whether I had a Merguez Sausage recipe
I didn’t at the time, but it reminded me of how much I loved these North-African sausages, so I did some research
Having researched a few French language recipe sites for the basic ingredients (the French are big Merguez eaters and it is, in fact, from growing up in Luxembourg, in close proximity to France, with French Nannies/Housekeepers, that I developed my love for these spicy delights), I played around with quantities and this was the result:
- Sheep Casings (I used ex. narrow hog casings because I didn’t have any sheep ones in the house, but Merguez are traditionally chippolata-thin. I used about 10 yards of the ex. narrow hog casings, but with thinner ones, you’d need more)
- 1.5kg approx. of Lamb Shoulder (with all the fat!) – roughly 2 shoulders of 2kg each, boned & diced by your butcher
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2tbsp Harissa (This makes a fairly mild Merguez as my eldest daughter wouldn’t eat it otherwise. Adjust the quantity of Harissa according to your own tastebuds – the spicier/hotter you want your Merguez to be, the more you add)
- 60ml cold water
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- 1tsp paprika
- 3tsp Ras el Hanout (readily available in the spices area in most major supermarkets) – the one I bought had whole seeds in and other chunky bits of ingredients, so I ground them down more with a pestle and mortar
- 1tsp fennel seeds, ground with a pestle and mortar
Depending on the sausage casings you buy, these may require soaking for a few minutes or a few hours before use
Peel the garlic and place it in a bowl with the lamb
Sprinkle on the Ras el Hanout and fennel seeds, gently mix ingredients together to ensure the meat is more or less evenly coated (this will make it easier later)
Put the meat (coated in Ras el Hanout and Fennel Seeds) and the garlic through your meat mincer/grinder on a coarse setting
Add all the other ingredients and mix well but gently, without over-working the meat
Tip: If you want to test the flavours (I don’t mind tasting raw meat, but you get a better idea of the flavour balance in the cooked end product), make a tiny little patty and fry it up in a non-stick pan, then taste and adjust seasoning if required. It’s always better to have to add seasoning as you can’t take it out once it’s in!
Place the sausage casings on the nozzle of your sausage-making machine, feed through the meat mixture to make one long length of merguez sausage
Once you’ve made your long one-piece merguez, twist at regular intervals (each Merguez needs to be approx. 10cm long) and snip at the twists with scissors if you wish to separate them at this point.
Grill, BBQ, Pan-fry or cook on a griddle and enjoy!