At some point, Spanish cured chorizo made the short watery leap south to Morocco, where lamb was substituted for pork but the sausage’s gutsy, zingy character remained intact. I’m crazy for lamb any way I can get it, and the smoky-sweet-spicy seasoning in mergeuz is a perfect foil to lamb’s earthy flavors. Pretty thrilling, then, to discover that it’s incredibly easy to make at home, no special equipment or casings required. If you’ve ever slapped a hamburger patty together, you can make this, too.
If the ground lamb at your butcher shop looks lean, see if they’ll grind up a bit of lamb fat trimmings (just a couple of ounces or so) for you to add in; the extra bit of richness goes a long way. Serve the little two-bite mergeuz patties as an appetizer, or in a collection of small plates with a garlicky yogurt sauce or store-bought harissa for extra kick.
adapted from Sausage by Victoria Wise, 2010; makes about 16 small patties
- 1 1/2 lb fatty ground lamb
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp sweet Hungarian-style paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground fennel seeds
- scant 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 C water
In a large bowl, gently knead all the ingredients together to mix. Cover and refrigerate to allow the flavors to marry, at least one hour and preferably overnight. When ready to cook, shape into 1 1/2″ patties and bring to room temperature. Grill or brown in a sauté pan with vegetable oil over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Serve warm or room temperature.