Merguez sausages using harissa paste

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Merguez sausages using harissa paste

Postby aris » Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:09 pm

Bought a small can of Harissa paste from my local asian grocer (great place to get spices too by the way). Harissa is basically a chille and garlic paste.

Found this recipe:

Merguez sausages

350 g lean beef or lamb shoulder, roughly chopped
100g beef or lamb fat, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of cold water
1 teaspoon harissa
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper and fennel seeds
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Harrisa

Postby Franco » Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:30 pm

Aris,
I always make my own harrisa, it is much better than a shop bought one, here's the recipe I use


4 dried small hot red chile peppers


5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Crush it all together and make a paste.

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Postby aris » Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:32 pm

Do you ever use it in sausages? If so, what are the proportions?
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Postby _Darkstream_ » Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:18 pm

Here is another harissa recipe, from " The Morrocan Collection", Hilaire Walden.

It too is very much better than shop bought ready prepared.

2 Red sweet bell peppers

1 oz fresh red chilleis INCLUDING the seeds

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspon of roasted corriander seeds

2 teaspoons of carraway seeds

olive oil

salt

Grind the dry ingredients to a spice powder. Grind the chillies and pepper together/liquidise and garlic. Heat peppers & chillies gently to reduce to a paste if necessary.

Add the dry spices. Blend down with a little olive oil and add some salt tpo preserve. Place into a sealed jar and pour an oil cap onto it.

Keep in the fridge.


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Postby Twoscoops » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:24 am

Well Aris's original post here inspired me to have a go at merguez yesterday. I bought some harissa from a deli on Friday, and also bought some really good British mutton. After trimming most of the mutton for a curry I had enough fat for the merguez. I made double the quantity but also added just a little more harissa, and also a couple of handfuls of rusk. This was my third attempt at home sausage making and my previous two were very dense. I also realised yesterday that I had been using the wrong mince attachment, so that may have conributed! Oh yes, after the curry on Saturday I had pleny of fresh coriander left, so minced a good handful with the mutton.

I cooked three last night, after resting them for six hours. I ate one, which was nice but not really as flavoursome as I was expecting, and sliced the other two. I brought them into work this morning and the flavours have developed beautifully, a real winner. Maybe even a touch more heat wouldn't go amiss.
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Flavours melding

Postby Parson Snows » Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:36 pm

Basically sausages are exactly the same as curries, soups and stews etc. They always taste better the day after, that 's why sausags are normally allowed to rest first. The flavours amalgimate, permutate, infuse whatever you want to call it.

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And food enough for five... Amen
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Merguez sausage

Postby Parson Snows » Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:43 pm

This recipe also comes from The Professional Charcuterie Series by Marcel
Cottenceau, Jean-Francios Deport and Jean-Pierre Odeau (As you can see
somewhat French in content). This book is for a charcuterie course held at a
major establishment (CEPROC : Centre European de Promotion de la
Charcuterie)

*** start of text (verbatim)

Merguez (or Mergues)

Ingredients for 5 kg (11 lbs) of sausage
2.5 (5.5 lbs) lean beef (with some marbling)
*** my note: obviously it's meant to be 2.5 kg and just a typo
2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) breast of mutton

or

1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) lean beef
1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) pork belly
2 kg (4.4 lbs) breast of mutton

Seasonings
90 g (3 oz) fine salt
"Merguez spices" (a special blend is sold by speciality suppliers-check the
label for dose)
50 ml (scant 1/4 cup) olive oil

or

90 g (3 oz ) fine salt
12 g (1/2 oz) black pepper
20 g (2/3 oz) hot chilli powder
120 g (4 oz) mild chilli powder
30 g (1 oz) crushed garlic
20 g (2/3 oz) ground cumin
20 g (2/3 oz) anis seed
10 g (1/3 oz) mild paprika
70 ml (scant 1/4 cup) olive oil

Preparing the Ingredients
As with all products that are sold uncooked, it is necessary to use the
freshest ingredients possible to make merguez. The meat must be completely
trimmed of blood spots and tendons. After trimming and sorting the meat,
chill for at least 12 hours before grinding and maintain cold temperatures
throughout production.
*** my note : no temperatures are given though it is safe to assume that the
mixture should remain at 2-4 degrees C (36-39 degrees F)

Grinding and Mixing
The meat can be ground in the grinder or chopper to obtain a grain of 4-6 mm
(1/4 in) as shown. The meats are then blended with the seasonings (dissolved
in cold water) on low speed in a mixer until just mixed to avoid warming the
mixture which causes the release of fat during cooking resulting in a dry
product.
*** my note: the amount and temperature of the water is not stated though I
would suggest approx. 6 fl. oz (150 ml) of water at 1 degree C (30 degrees
F)

Filling the Casings
The merguez mixture is stuffed into sheep casings (18-20 mm (3/4 in)). The
standard merguez is sectioned into 12-15 cm (5-6 in) links. Smaller sausages
measuring 5 cm (2 in) are used for brochettes and are served with couscous.
Tinted casings can be used to intensify the colour which makes them more
eye-catching and easier to market. The filled sausages are hung in the
refrigerator to drain.
*** my note: though no time or temperature are mentioned I would base it on
11-13 degrees C (51-55 degrees F) for 20 minutes.

Storage
Merguez should not be stored too long. Thin sausages such as this dry out
more quickly than plump ones. The sausages should be covered with plastic
wrap and hung in the walk-in cooler on hooks until ready to use.

Presentation
Merguez are sold raw in the refrigerated display case. The individual links
are arranged neatly on porceline or stainless steel serving dishes. A little
parsley is used for decoration.


*** end of text


Hope that this at least helps someone out there

Parson Snows
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There's ten around the table
And food enough for five... Amen
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Postby aris » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:10 pm

I made some of these today. I took 2.5kg of pork, and a 135g can of harissa paste, and added 10g of salt - stuffed into collagen sheep casings.

They were very good indeed! I'm hoping the flavour will mature a bit more over the next day or two, and I think it could have used a bit of salt. I normally put 1%, but since the harissa had some salt in it, i lowered the salt content. I think 15 or 20g of salt might have been better.
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Salt content

Postby Parson Snows » Mon Dec 06, 2004 8:40 am

Aris

Next time try it with approximately 45 g of salt added, this should be about right.

hope that this is of some use to you

kind regards

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Postby aris » Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:05 am

I should have written - 10g of salt per kilo there. 45 grames of salt sounds like too much to me for 2.5kg of meat. I like to use about 1%. I used a bit less here because the harissa paste had salt in it already (though i'm not sure the exact quantity).
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salt content

Postby Parson Snows » Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:18 am

The salt content of the paste should be declared on the label as sodium, though this would then need to be calculated as salt. As to the 45 g, that works out at 1.8 % (18 g per kilo) of the sausage weight. I didn't include the weight of the paste because it has its own salt content also I don't know the amount of any additional ingredients that you included in your mix so it would probably be a salt content of less than 1.8 % total. If you are happy with working with a 1 % salt content then fine. The less salt in your diet the better.

hope that this is of some use to you

kind regards

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Postby Moonraker » Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:45 am

It is great to see some suggestions for merguez and harisa too as they are both favourites of mine. However I think it is wrong to consider pork as an ingredient (I guess that is typical of the charcutier :roll:) especially given that pork would never be used in Tunisia or Algeria where the merguez originates, being Islamic countries.

I am all for experimenting with recipes and do so all the time myself :D but should we not strive to retain the authenticity of regional recipes where possible?

Strictly that would apply to the use of hog casing for the skins too (lamb intestine traditionally used or man made for commercial products)

Lamb is Tunisia's principal meat and beef is also used for making merguez. Sometimes mixed (I understand that the general ban on pork is actually waived in one area in the North East of Tunisia for local roast wild boar)

I totally agree about the home-made harisa, which in it's purest form is simply pounded or ground (where the name comes from) chillis and salt preserved under a layer of olive oil and used as an ingredient in many recipes. I am not sure what, if anything would have been used before the discovery of chilli peppers from the New World?

One of the better recipes available in English is by Clifford Wright here:

Merguez - (Tunisia)

His recipe for harisa is also very good and is linked from the web page linked above. It is worth the effort in preparing it with a proper pestle and mortar to get a good consistency and texture. The caraway really is a great flavour for me and one which goes well with meat in sausages.

If you want a nice hot and spicy pork based sausage why not a lovely Cajun 'chaurice'. This spicy pork sausage is used in jambalaya and other Creole and Cajun dishes. It's available either in links or patties, but it's hard to find outside of Louisiana. There is a good description and recipe here:

Chaurice Sausage
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Merguez

Postby Parson Snows » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:01 pm

I have re-read the previous posts and mention the following

1) The pork in the recipe (not my recipe) was as a alternative/option the first being beef and lamb/mutton
2) There is no mention that I can see of stuffing these into hog casings
3) I have worked in numerous muslim countries and in several of them such as Sharjah and Baharain pork was readily available, or was when I was there.
4) You mention
I am all for experimenting with recipes and do so all the time myself but should we not strive to retain the authenticity of regional recipes where possible?


If people didn't/hadn't experimented with recipes there would be a very limited selection of dishes available. For example dishes that wouldn't exist

Fish and Chips
Tom Yum Kung
Crisps/Potato Chips just to name a few

Thanks for the link to Clifford Wright. I'll check it out.

kind regards

Parson Snows
Heavenly Father Bless us
And keep us all alive
There's ten around the table
And food enough for five... Amen
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Re: Merguez

Postby Moonraker » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:39 pm

Parson Snows wrote:I have re-read the previous posts and mention the following

1) The pork in the recipe (not my recipe) was as a alternative/option the first being beef and lamb/mutton
2) There is no mention that I can see of stuffing these into hog casings
3) I have worked in numerous muslim countries and in several of them such as Sharjah and Baharain pork was readily available, or was when I was there.
4) You mention
I am all for experimenting with recipes and do so all the time myself but should we not strive to retain the authenticity of regional recipes where possible?


If people didn't/hadn't experimented with recipes there would be a very limited selection of dishes available. For example dishes that wouldn't exist

Fish and Chips
Tom Yum Kung
Crisps/Potato Chips just to name a few

Thanks for the link to Clifford Wright. I'll check it out.

kind regards

Parson Snows


Hi PS

In reply:

1. I did not imply it was your recipe rather I noted that it was typical of a charcutier, who wrote the recipe, to include pork :wink: Whether as an alternative or not I still feel that the authors suggestion is bastardising a traditional recipe. He could always call it something else rather than merguez.

2. Nope. I mentioned it in the context of the use of pork, as a pork product.

3. I am sure pork itself is available all over the world. But I do not expect it is included in traditional recipes in this primarily Muslim country. Why use pork at all when lamb and beef are widely available and hence why they form the basis of the merguez?

4. I agree with you. However I also feel keeping traditional recipes authentic is equally, if not more important; otherwise, like rare wildlife, if we do not care for them, they eventually become lost. I refer not just to merguez (which is not itself an uncommon food but is sold in many guises, often far from the authentic :wink:) but as a general point on keeping traditional recipes and foods alive.

It is one reason why the Appellation Contr�l�e system works well in preserving regional flavours and character distinct here in France.
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Merguez

Postby Parson Snows » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:52 pm

Moonraker

I�m surprised that you didn�t ask me why the dishes that I listed (just some of thousands) wouldn�t have existed.

What consists a �Traditional� recipe? Will Scotland�s famous �Deep-fried Mars Bars� ever be elevated to that status? I for one hope not, and my family�s Scottish.

In Thailand there are certain people who do not eat beef/beef products or beef by-products as they worship a particular Chinese Lady statue. Should these people and others like this not be allowed to enjoy the flavours of a Merguez sausage made with pork and mutton/lamb? If you look at other sausages, say UK sausages, there are NO definitive recipes for any of them. This applies to every country and every type of sausage with each butcher believing that they have the right recipe.

At present I am a partner of a small sausage kitchen and I believe in preserving our heritage. For the last 12 years I have been putting together a book on the history of sausages and their effect on diets, society etc. Needless to say that it's nowhere near complete, but what ever is? Any help would be appreciated with full credit being given. I'd just really like to get it out there. I'm personally interested in old sausage recipes, preferably from published books- though individual/family recipes would also get a once over. Now you know.

I sorry but I don�t agree with your wildlife comparison, we didn�t create any of the wildlife though I admit at the moment we certainly aren�t doing a very good job of managing/maintaining it.

As to France�s Appellation Contr�l�e system. If my memory serves me well it was only in 2002 that they, and numerous major French wineries had their wrists slapped for mixing almost 50 % Australian �Cabernet Sauvignon� with there wine and then selling it as �French� wine.


Welcome to the forum

Kind regards

Parson Snows
Heavenly Father Bless us
And keep us all alive
There's ten around the table
And food enough for five... Amen
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