Filed Under: Dinner, merguez, Sausage

Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt

The realization that sausage is essentially highly seasoned ground meat formed into a patty is a small victory for any ambitious but not-too-ambitious DIYer.

September 22nd, 2016

From Small Victories, by Julia Turshen

You’ll see in the Spin-Offs that this recipe is really just a concept—there are infinite variations you can make with all different types of ground meat, spices, and even toppings.
4 TO 6
  • ½ cup [120 ml] plain yogurt
  • A small handful of finely chopped leafy fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, mint, chives, basil, and/or dill (any single one is good, and a mix is even better), plus a few roughly chopped for serving
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds*
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds*
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds*
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp harissa paste (or any hot sauce)
  • 1 lb [455 g] ground lamb, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • A handful of shredded red cabbage and/or thinly sliced radishes and lemon wedges for serving
  • * You can use ground spices in place of seeds
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and finely chopped herbs and whisk in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the merguez.

  2. In a skillet over medium heat, combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds and toast the seeds, swirling the skillet now and then to keep them from burning, until they’re lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a coffee grinder and blitz them for a few seconds, until they’re coarsely ground. (Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle. Or cool the spices, then transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy saucepan.) Transfer the spices to a large bowl and stir them together with the paprika, garlic, harissa, and 1½ tsp salt.

  3. Add the lamb to the bowl and use your hands to gently combine everything. Gently form the mixture into twelve evenly sized patties. (At this point, you can cover the merguez with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Be sure to bring the patties to room temperature before proceeding.)

  4. In a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. (Or, if you have a grill and it’s a nice day, grill these!) Add the merguez patties, in batches as necessary to keep from crowding the skillet, and cook, without disturbing them, until the undersides are quite beautifully browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the patties and cook until the second sides are browned and the patties are firm to the touch, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the merguez to a serving platter and cook the remaining patties.

  5. Drizzle the merguez with the reserved yogurt mixture and scatter with the roughly chopped herbs and the cabbage. Serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing over.


  7. To make the best CHICKEN-APPLE-MAPLE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE PATTIES, mix 1 lb [455 g] ground chicken (preferably dark meat) with a peeled and coarsely grated green apple, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp minced fresh sage, and lots of salt and pepper. Shape and pan-fry or grill. These are great alongside scrambled eggs.

  8. To make SPICY PORK SAUSAGE PATTIES, combine 1 lb [455 g] ground pork with two minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp fennel seeds, and 2 tsp kosher salt. Shape and pan-fry or grill. These are great on a breakfast sandwich with roasted red peppers, fried eggs, and mayonnaise.

  9. I had the pleasure and privilege of enjoying hot dogs at the late, great Hot Doug’s in Chicago before it closed. One of the hot dogs that particularly stands out in my memory is the GREEN CURRY SAUSAGE. To make similarly flavored sausage patties, combine 1 lb [455 g] ground pork with 3 Tbsp Thai green curry paste and 1 tsp kosher salt. Shape and pan-fry or grill. Serve drizzled with peanut butter that you’ve thinned with coconut milk until it’s drizzle-able (season with salt and/or soy sauce) and scatter with toasted peanuts, toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, and plenty of chopped fresh cilantro. Very delicious and particularly great with a simple salad of thinly sliced cucumbers seasoned with salt and sugar and dressed with white wine vinegar.

  10. To make MERGUEZ BURGERS, form the mixture into four patties instead of twelve. Serve in pita breads or on buns with the yogurt sauce, shredded cabbage, and additional herbs.

  11. To make INCREDIBLE ROAST CHICKEN, use the spice, garlic, and harissa combination from the main recipe and rub it over the outside and under the skin of a chicken. Let the rubbed chicken sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting at 425°F [220°C] until it registers 170°F [70°C] on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (start checking it at 1 hour to be safe).

Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt
Gentl + Hyers

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