Homemade Moroccan Merguez Sausage (No Casings Necessary!)

Do you know that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Toula tells her aunt that her fiance (whom I'm just going to call Aidan because he'll always be Aidan to me) is a vegetarian and then the whole family freaks out and then the aunt goes

"Thas OK! I make you LAMB!"

Yeah? Well I freaking LOVE that scene!

And I quote it. CONSTANTLY.

Whenever I order lamb or when my relatives make lamb or when I make lamb. Which is a lot. Because I love lamb. I don't even call it just lamb. I say things like

"Tonight we're having ThasOKIMakeYouLamb for dinner." 

Actually...who am I kidding? I quote that entire movie constantly.

Raw lamb sausage is SO not sexy looking, but it is delicious. Once cooked. Don't eat raw sausage.
I shout "YOU FIXED IT!" whenever I make a bundt cake.

And I scream "SPANAKOPITA!" whenever I eat or make or just come anywhere near the viscinity of that delicious flaky Greek spinach pie.

And whenever I see a weird lump or bump or mosquito bite on my or my husband's body, I go:

"Oh no...it's the horrrr-monees! They're going to have to do the bio...the b...the bios...the b...the bobopsy! And they're probably going to find teeth and a spinal column!"

God...if you haven't seen the movie you probably have no idea what the heck I'm rambling about here...
So I guess that you can say that I can be a little annoying. Or delightful. Up to you. Also, I shout a LOT.

Anyway, the lamb. I love lamb, and one of my favorite lamb things is merguez sausage--a Moroccan lamb sausage seasoned with Middle Eastern spices like sumac, cumin, and lots of garlic. The spices work beautifully with the natural flavor of the lamb and the aromas that fill the house while you're making them will seriously transport you somewhere far away (assuming you're not in the Middle East because then they'll just transport you down the street).

It's an easy sausage to make as you simply have to mix the meat with some oil and spices then shape it into patties or tubes. If you have casings, you can use them, but there is really no need. I love the rustic look of the simply grilled or pan-fried sausages. I serve them atop a simple cucumber salad with a minty yogurt dressing for an incredibly satisfying meal

Tip: This sausage keeps well, so make a large batch and freeze individual portions of the uncooked sausage for future meals. I like to portion them out into groups or 4 or 6, wrap them in plastic wrap, then place in freezer zipped baggies.

And then you can have ThasOKIMakeYouLamb anytime you want!

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Thanks for reading & sharing! 

Homemade Moroccan Merguez Sausage Recipe

2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)
3 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely minced
6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
4 teaspoons kosher salt

In a heavy bottom skillet or cast iron pan, combine the cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds and toast over medium heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool slightly, then grind in a spice grinder until fine and powdery. (Note: You can also used ground spices instead of whole, but the flavor will be better with the whole spices)

Combine the ground toasted spices with the paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, and sumac. In a large bowl, combine the spices with the ground lamb, oil, cilantro, mint, garlic, and salt and mix until well combined (I use my mixer to make sure everything is evenly combined.)

If desired, fry a small amount of the meat in a skillet and taste it to check the flavor. Adjust the seasonings as desired.

To shape, roll the seasoned lamb mixture into small tubes, about 4 inches long by 1 inch wide. You can also make patties, if desired. The sausage can be cooked right away, or you can wrap and freeze indefinitely. To cook, grill the sausage or cook on a skillet until cooked through.


Book Giveaway: Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris

[This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner. Stay tuned for other fun opportunities!]
 It's 10 after 10 and I have about an hour to shower, get ready, and pack for a quick road trip down to Atlantic City with my friend, Vanessa. I'm going to down to cover a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School, and bringing Vanessa along for fun. There is an indoor pool I'm hoping to also check out (not work-related) and restaurants (work-related).

I'm pretty sure it's going to be exactly like that one episode of Sex and the City. Exactly like it.

Anyway, since I don't have enough time to share the recipe I'd planned to share today, I figured I'd just offer you a consolation prize by way of a food-related novel!

(My very favorite kind.)

The book is called Peaches for Father Francis, by Joanne Harris, the author of the oh-so-lovely Chocolat (one of my favorite food movies!). In fact, this book revisits the world of Chocolat and brings back the same cast of characters, including Vianne, her daughter, Anouk, and her lover, Roux. (Yes!)

In the story, Vianne receives a letter from beyond the grave that brings her and her daughters back to the charming French village of Lansquenet, where she finds things very changed from the way she left them: women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea, and even a minaret! Her old nemesis, Father Francis Reynaud, desperately needs her help.

Sounds lovely, right? I'm taking my copy of it along with me on my trip so we'll be able to read it together!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite food-related book, story, or movie.

I'll randomly select one winner to get one copy of the book. All entries must be in by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, October 9 (that's tomorrow!). I don't care where you live, but the prize will be shipped to US addresses, only.  (Yes, that includes Puerto Rico.)

Good luck!



Giveaway: Win a ticket to the New York Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash Courtesy of Fresh Direct!!!

[This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Irina G. Stay tuned for other fun opportunities!]

If you've been paying even a modicum of attention around here, you would know that I'm a pretty major Fresh Direct fan. For those of you outside the NYC area, Fresh Direct is an incredible online grocery store that delivers right to your home. This means that I usually do my groceries from the comfort of my bed in my pajamas.

It's awesome.

I love the quality of their ingredients, the ridiculously amazing customer service, their par-baked croissants (oh holy heck yes!), the "What's Good" button that pretty much dictates how I shop, and the fact that they include incredibly accurate and honest ratings on their products so you know what to expect. I could probably go on about my Fresh Direct fangirl-ness for days, but I'll stop because right now I have a super cool giveaway to share with you!

A chance for you to win a ticket to the 2012 New York City Wine & Food Festival Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat La Frieda Meats and hosted by Rachael Ray.

The October 12 event features top chefs from all over the city, Food Network Stars, and amazing celebrity chefs competing to win the title for the Best Burger. And yes, guests get to try as many burgers as they physically (or morally) can.

It is one of the most popular events at NYCWFF and is already completely SOLD OUT. (Value $225)

Yup... pretty awesome!

I'm not promising that Rachael Ray will try to shove a burger in your mouth if you win, but I figure it's totally possible.
And if you're feeling extra lucky, you should also try your hand at winning one of TEN $100 gift cards that Fresh Direct is giving away to celebrate their 10th birthday. To enter, simply LIKE Fresh Direct on Facebook and fill out the entry form.

Details: Prize includes one ticket to the 2012 NYCWFF Burger Bash (value of $225). Transportation, lodging, and other expenses are NOT included. You must be able to get yourself to NYC. All entries must be in by 5pm EST on Friday, Oct 5. Any entries which do not follow the rules indicated in this post will be disqualified. The winner will be randomly selected via Random Number Generator on Friday, Sept. 5th and announced on this blog and via email. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.

Good luck!!

Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated to write this post, though Fresh Direct is providing the prize and also providing me with my own ticket to attend the event. This post also contains my affiliate link, which means I get a $25 credit if you become a customer. That said, I genuinely am a very loyal Fresh Direct customer and have the statements to prove it so it's a win/win/win situation! ;)

Fresh Direct Coupon Code: Want to try Fresh Direct? Click here for a first-time Fresh Direct customer coupon and save $50 on your first order! (Affiliate link)

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