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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:03 pm
by Oddley
I had a go at making merguez sausages based on the recipe posted by Parson Snows.

I've got to say it is a cracking little sausage. But is it a true merguez sausage. If any of you guys that have tried the real thing make this, please tell me if it tastes anything like the real thing.

This sausage is a bit spicy, with a full bodied taste and a note of Fennel.


500 gm Lean Beef
500 gm Breast of Lamb
30 gm Iced Water
10 gm Olive Oil
38 gm Spice Mix

Spice Mix

18 gm Salt
2.4 gm Black Pepper
4 gm Hot chilli Powder
0.6 gm Spanish Smoked Hot Paprika
3 gm Ground Garlic
4 gm Ground Cumin
4 gm Ground Fennel seed
2 gm Spanish Sweet Paprika


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 2-4 �C (36-39 �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

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.



PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:35 pm
by Muncher
Hi Oddley,

Those look (and sound) really good.

I was messing around at the weekend, and had some minced lamb knocking about. I added (in appropriate quantities) harissa, garlic, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, according to several recipes I've seen. The only thing I had missing was fennel.

They were rubbish! They just tasted like chilli lamb in a sausage casing.

Your recipe looks good, and I think the mixture of lamb and beef is important. I'll give it a go soon, along with some made from the merguez mixture sold on this site. That'll be a good comparison, and I can test them again some French ones I've still got in the back of the freezer, (saving them for a special occasion).

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:02 pm
by Oddley
Hi Muncher,
I would be interested to here your views on the recipe. Specifically if you think it a true Merguez or what needs changing. I quite liked it as it was and it went well in a cassoulete.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:47 pm
by markh
Hi Oddley,
I have tried the Merguez recipe from Len Poli's site (Lamb only and using the Harrissa paste recipe) and would say it is both my all-time personal favourite and the most requested from my victims.. sorry tasters :D

I cannot comment on the authenticity of either recipe - however, if you try Len's I would be very interested in your views, if I get a chance I will try a small sample run and compare the two.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:33 pm
by Oddley
Hi markh. I can't promise anything, but if I can get round to it, I will try it in some burger, if I like it I will make some, then give an opinion. I won't be able to say if it is a true merguez, because I have not tried a true one. But of course I can say if I like it.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:27 am
by Fricandeau
I love merguez and I make tons during the summer for the BBQ, as I think that the charcoal-grilled flavour is an essential part of it. The North African version (which I guess came first) is made from 100% lamb (and only breast or trim, as they are about thirty percent fat), and is spiced with cumin, corriander seed and a meduim-heat paprika, as well as lemon zest pounded fine in a mortar and pestle, and sugar or honey. I've found that if you use ground chillis they are too hot when they have the right colour.
I think that the addition of beef is a Spanish or French addition, because there aren't a lot of cows in Morrocco, but I might give it a try.

Re: Merguez?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:31 am
by pokerpete
Well I'm absolutely sure that North African Merguez sausages were never made with beef. Lamb (mutton) yes, and maybe occasionaly goats meat.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:13 am
by Fricandeau
I think that the North African version is made with the old sausagemakers standby:- whatever you can get :D

Those look like some nice bangers Porkerpete.

I guess you could tint the casings by adding paprika to the soaking water. Just a thought, and the chilli used in Morrocco is very mild so it's probably not necesary (I've actually found a lot of food sold in North Africa as "picante" to be rather mild.)

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:50 am
by aris
I made a 'Merguez' just by adding some harissa paste I bought from a local 'ethnic' shop to the ground meat. Tasted quite nice to me, thoug having never been to North Africa, I could not say if it tasted anything like a true Merguez - though looking at Wikipedia, it sounds right:

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 1:57 pm
by pokerpete
Fricandeau wrote:I think that the North African version is made with the old sausagemakers standby:- whatever you can get :D

Those look like some nice bangers Porkerpete.

I guess you could tint the casings by adding paprika to the soaking water. Just a thought, and the chilli used in Morrocco is very mild so it's probably not necesary (I've actually found a lot of food sold in North Africa as "picante" to be rather mild.)

Indeed the sausages do look well. If sausages were made with 'whatever you can get' then we would have a worlwide hotch-potch of nondescript products. This is not the case.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:11 pm
by Fricandeau
Actually Porker, it was implicit that the "whatever you can get" is what is available at the local market at a price that is low enough to be worth making into a sausage instead of selling it at a premium as a stewing/roasting cut. "Whatever you can get" is what the local butcher sells in your little village outside Fez.

I don't really get your (somewhat beligerent :? ) point, mate. Regional recipes are dictated by location and the availability of produce, hence "whatever you can get."

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:35 am
by dougal
Easy, chaps!

Fricandeau, its best to read *carefully*, and interpret positively.
BTW, as regards careful reading - Pete's handle relates to card games, not pigs, despite his close involvement with the meat and allied trades...

While undoubtedly sausages have been a repository for all manner of trimmings, offcuts and offal - to make a consistent product with a specific character, you need a (more or less specific) recipe.
Now while a merguez-maker in Fez might well use various bits that he finds are best sold in sausage, those bits are not going to be the same, or in the same proportions, as sausagemaking resource used by a butcher in Lincoln or Windermere.
To replicate the product of Morocco, Lincolnshire or Cumbria one needs a bit more to go on than "whatever the guy has to hand" 'cos it certainly ain't likely to be exactly the same as happens by chance to be available to yourself.
What "you" have got most conveniently will inevitably be different for everyone.
But, even in Morocco, Lincolnshire and Cumbria, more than a single type of sausage is routinely made - and traders will strive to produce a fairly consistent product from day to day. Abdul's Merguez are intended to be the same tomorrow as yesterday. He might not achieve the consistency of Ronald MacDonald, but he doesn't intend his clients to be taking pot luck when they ask him for Merguez. There's a particular customer expectation that he is trying to meet.
Now as to how much variability there is in the method and ingredients, that's another question, but what Oddley was asking was along the lines of whether the recipe he used produces something that Abdul's clients would recognise as "Merguez"...

I've only eaten them in France, not North Africa.
The meat has been a deep dark *red* particularly after cooking.
They were frequently sold at the roadside, grilled over charcoal. I'd say that a certain amount of char and smoke greatly enhances them. Hence I'm surprised at the absence of grilled red pepper flesh from these recipes. Whereas Harissa emphasises the heat of the Chillies, IMHO Merguez wants the smokey "grilled red peppery-ness" of the sweet peppers.

I know they will have a common ancestry but I wonder what the defining distinctions are between Merguez and fresh (ie not air-cured) Chorizo.
I'd suggest that the Merguez are more likely to be in smaller casings, have more fat, finer mincing and more of a taste of peppers (and hot chillies) than just of 'spicy' (rather than sweet) paprika. That's just my suggestions - what would others say?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:02 pm
by Fricandeau
I don't know what to say.

I had been made very welcome, and I don't think I said anything out of order.............

Ah well.

"The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on."

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:30 pm
by saucisson
Hi Fricandeau, some of the folks here can seem a bit harsh, particularly if you are new, it's part of the problem of not being face to face. Try not to take it too personally as it's not usually meant that way, they have a lot of useful information to impart.
Welcome to the forum by the way,


Edit: I also like your signature by the way :)

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:51 pm
by jenny_haddow
Good to have you on board Fricandeau, you have a lot to share by the sound of it. I go along with Saucisson here, remarks can come across rather stronger when written than spoken sometimes.

Do you have a good recipe for Fricandeau by the way?