I’ll be having a bunch of French friends over for dinner in two weeks time for Bastille day celebrations and I though I’d trail a meal I’m going to make for them, John dory with shellfish , saffron and merguez broth.
For you non-cognoscenti out there merguez are a sausage from North Africa that are popular in France. I make my own merguez from scratch and I thought you may want to try making them sometime, since most of you live overseas and are unlikely to ever come to my place for dinner.
The music I was listening to as I was making my merguez was my new favourite CD, Amadou & Mariam on their album Dimanche a Bamako
1 kg lamb
2-3 teaspoons harissa (you can test how hot you want it by frying up a little mince and tasting it)
5 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
250ml iced water
Thin sausage skins
Try and use whole spice for recipe as the flavours will be more intense. Put all the whole spices into a dry frying pan over medium heat. Keep the pan moving so that the spices are evenly heated. Take off the heat when the spices start smoking and grind them up in a mortar and pestle. When the spices are fine, add the garlic and pound it all together.
The meat should be cold.
Trim any skin from the lamb, but leave a good proportion of fat and cut it up into chunks.
Toss all the ingredients (no, not the skins as well) into a food processor and mince. Then spoon the mince into either a sausage maker (not necessary) or, the way in which I do it, a cloth reinforced piping bag (the sort of the used for icing cakes). Place the sausage skins over the end of your filling device of choice and fill them up. Easy!
Cook sausages slowly on low medium heat and don’t prick them, the fats inside help the meat cook and the flavour will be better.
I didn’t bother putting any photos of the merguez up because they just look like ordinary sausages.