We are big fans of merguez (spiced lamb sausage) in this household so were happy to see a homemade version for this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe from David Lebovitz’ My Paris Kitchen. As a friend of David’s says, “you’re not Parisian until you’ve had a merguez sandwich, stuffed with sausage and frites at 3am… eaten on the sidewalk.” When I lived in Paris (and when I was much younger and able to stay awake until 3am) there were, indeed, merguez sandwiches enjoyed on my way home after a night out but most recently, merguez is something we buy often when we are in France simply because it’s not so common to find here and we love it so much.
David’s recipe calls for lamb or beef or a combination of both – I was thrilled to find ground lamb at our local butcher so I went with just lamb which we formed into meatballs and some burger patties. Because it was so hot the weekend we were making these, I just didn’t want to heat up the kitchen by pan-frying the meatballs or oven-baking them so we popped both the burgers and the meatballs on the barbecue. A couple of notes:
- Watch these carefully on a barbecue – ours were a *tad* overdone.
- These shrunk a lot so the burgers ended up being more like the rissoles I used to enjoy as a child – less burger-like but still very delicious.
- Make sure your lamb is not too lean. My memories of merguez in France are that they are deliciously tasty because they are a little bit fatty. Our lamb was a little too lean for these, so with the combination of the fast cooking on the barbecue, they were a bit dry…
- The harissa mayo is a revelation. Not rocket science so I wondered why I had not thought of this before.
- Old harissa might not pack the punch you are expecting. Taste it before you use it to see how much you can add to both the meat and the mayo. We used two different brands – one newer than the other – and the new jar was much spicier than the older one (we are trying to use up the pantry so I refused to open the new one until the old one was gone!).
We enjoyed the “burgers” both as burgers, in buns but also with some salads I am testing for my upcoming cookbook. I’ll definitely make these again and will try oven-baking the meatballs and also seek out a less lean lamb. But the flavours in this weeks’ recipe certainly worked really well. And that harissa mayo? Going on everything!
Get the recipe for David Lebovitz’ spiced meatballs with sriracha sauce here or on p74 of My Paris Kitchen.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “My Paris Kitchen” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.