A recipe from Jacques Pépin, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen.
Jacques Pépin: Merguez
Nearly 50 years ago, when I left France, I was already familiar with merguez, the traditional lamb sausage of North Africa. That part of the world, called the Maghreb, encompasses Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, all of which were part of the French colonial empire for many years. After these countries gained their independence in the 1960s, many of the Arabs settled in France, where they have lived for several generations. Along with other North African dishes, merguez is very popular in France. That little lamb sausage is a classic at any backyard barbecue or picnic there, as popular as the hot dog is in the U.S.
Merguez are sometimes made only of lamb and often are a mixture of beef and lamb. I make my merguez with lamb and pork, which many Arabs would object to on religious grounds, but I feel that this combination works best. I make my merguez without casings, forming the meat mixture into small patties.
3/4 pound trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Four 6-inch flour tortillas
Canola oil, for brushing
Herbes de Provence
16 Bibb lettuce leaves
How to Make It
Chill the meat grinder parts in the freezer. Put the lamb in a medium bowl and freeze for 10 minutes. Coarsely grind the lamb into the chilled bowl. Add the sausage, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of salt to the lamb and mix well. Form the meat into 16 balls and gently press into patties.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the patties over moderately high heat for about 6 minutes, turning once, until well browned and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Brush the tortillas with oil and season with salt and herbes de Provence. Grill for 20 seconds per side, until lightly browned and crisp. Cut the tortillas into quarters. Arrange the merguez on a platter lined with lettuce leaves and serve with the grilled tortillas.
The merguez can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
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