The Butcher Week End
I could never be a butcher, a baker yes, very much. Covered with flour, icing sugar, whisking eggs, measuring, even the caramel burn, I'll take it all, it's fun, rewarding, some kind of therapy that works out for me perfectly.
I guess having been a vegetarian for years doesn't help, but trying to do a butcher's work just lacks of a "pretty" side. I also lack of the right knives i guess, but I'm telling you, washing natural casing is not something i want to do everyday. But i'm all for challenges, and i wanted to try out my kitchenaid sausage stuffer.
Merguez is a spicy northern african sausage, traditionally made out of lamb. Funnily enough, though it's strong tasted, this is the first meat i craved for after 3 years of having none, and a friend of mine who's mostly a vegetarian eats them too...
Apparently it's like couscous (which it is served with) every family has it's recipe. But it seems to be hard to find a place where you always get the same product. From what i read, the butcher tend to change their recipe proportions depending what they have at hand.
So this was a first, and with the help of my lovely mother we managed this with a good result. Being afraid there might be too much fat, i chose a lean cut of beef and cut some of the fat of the lamb, well turns out it could have been a bit fatter.
But still, it fed all the tribe on a sunday barbecue and i'm quite proud, i made my own sausages! How many people can say the same?
And for the lack of prettiness of this post, i felt the need to add some. Look, A pink daisy!
For about 50 Sausages
1,3k of Lamb (shoulder or breast)
400gr of Beef (not too lean)
4 Tablespoons of Harissa
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 Teaspoons of Raz el Hanout
3 Teaspoons of Paprika
3 Teaspoons of Cumin
2 Teaspoons of Salt
2 Teaspoons of Pepper
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons of Grounded Coriander
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Water
Keep the meat cold before grinding it, or only buy it shortly before using it. Mix the meat with all the spicies, mince the garlic in and add the olive oil aswell as the water.
I'd advice you to put on a ruber glove and just dig in, to mix evrything well together. Put a cling film on it and put it in the fridge for 2 hours.
Now comes the casing, it's kind of hard to get, i've ordered mine preserved in salt, over the internet. You need to wash it and put it in water for about half an hour. I've cut it in about 2 meters long sections. Before using it, run water from the tap inside of them to wash them out, than tie a knot on one end.
Slip a section of the casing on the sausage stuffer tub, that you have wetted a bit. This is were you need 4 hands: 2 hands to switch on the machine and put the stuffing into it, and 2 hands to hold the casing until it's filled up to the wished sized before letting it slide.
Make one whole section, than tie the knot in the end and twist the sausage carefully every 15cm. Once you are done with all the sausages, hang them in a cool and dry place for a few hours before getting them into the fridge.
Before putting them on the barbecue, prick them with the tip of a knife a few times, they will need only a few minutes on each side, don't let them get too dark or dry out.