Merguez sausages, to be exact
Well, the cooler weather is slowly creeping up, and it’s time to start stocking up for the winter. I’ve already got the bacon done, I just finished curing some pancetta, I’ve always got some duck prosciutto on the go, so I figured, let’s go all the way with this meat-fest, and start stuffing meat, fat and spices into animal intestines. What could be more fun?
I have to point out, before I go on, that all these recipes from Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. And, okay, I admit it, I made somewhat of a fool of myself in a previous post but, again, I swear that his cookbooks will inspire most folks to at least try to make something wonderful to eat, usually with fantastic results.
Sidenote: While my pancetta was drying out, I noticed some strange specks appearing. I figured, having previously made beef jerky, that the specks were salt but, wanting to make sure, I tried looking online for similar observations. Not finding any, I sent off an email to MH himself. Amazingly enough, even though he’s probably really busy with judging The Next Iron Chef (he’s the biggest guy there: what was I thinking slagging him?) or out getting plastered with Anthony Bourdain, he answered me almost immediately. When he didn’t know the answer, he actually forwarded my email to his co-author. How often do you get service like that?
Okay, back to the merguez. I likes my sausage, but I’m not great at frying them up, so I’ve never been super-keen on them. However, I really like merguez. I mean, lamb and spices in one little package, served up on a bed of couscous and tomato sauce? Good stuff. Again, I don’t like just buying any old product from the store, because I have no idea what crap they put into them (chicken lips and pigs’ assholes often comes to mind), so I’m really happy I’m getting into this.
Surprisingly, these were incredibly simple to make. I got some lamb shoulder, which I ground up with some pork fat (saved from making the bacon. See, everything comes together in the end). Got my spices rounded up. Run of the mill spices, you can find these everywhere.
Then, roasted a red pepper. Ground the meat, fat, pepper and spices together.
Refrigerated everything overnight and then yesterday attempted to stuff sausages. Intimidating, to say the least. First, you have to call butchers and ask if they have lamb or hog casings. Not many do. I lucked out, finding someone near my place where everyone goes to who had what I wanted. Heck, they’ll even grind the meat for you. So, you’re staring at about 3 meters of lamb intestines, that you need to clean out. It’s, um, weird. I took a pic, but I’m not going to show it. One thought running through my mind was, heck, these were used as condoms, weren’t they? And, the stuffing? It was simpler than I expected. Sure, the first links leave something to be desired, but I’m sure my stomach won’t complain.
Oh, hey? Instead of going through the slight hassle of stuffing, you could actually just mixed the ingredients together and make burgers out of this. I fried up a patty. I had the milliner taste some and, even though she’s incredibly reluctant to taste my meat (too easy? shut up!), she went wild-simply-wild over this.