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Homemade merguez recipe

Homemade merguez recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Sausage
  • Homemade sausages

Spicy merguez sausage made right in your own kitchen. This simple recipe yields endless possibilities - try merguez with chips and harissa, a merguez frittata, or a Moroccan-inspired merguez wrap.

London, England, UK

28 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 20 to 25 (10cm) sausages

  • 1kg lamb shoulder, bone-in
  • 450g harissa
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • sheep casings

MethodPrep:1hr ›Extra time:1hr › Ready in:2hr

  1. Remove the bone from the lamb shoulder, then cut the lamb into cubes.
  2. Pass the lamb through a chilled meat mincer fitted with a medium plate.
  3. Combine the lamb, harissa and salt. Mix till thoroughly combined. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  4. Soak the casing in cold water for about 30 minutes. Place the wide end of a small sausage stuffing funnel up against the sink tap and run cold water through the inside of the casing to remove excess salt.
  5. Using the small sausage stuffing funnel attachment, place the lamb casing on the outside of the tube. Start passing the meat mixture through the funnel, stopping as it just starts to come out the other end. Tie the casing into a knot at the end, then continue passing the meat mixture through the funnel, supporting the sausage with your other hand. Once the meat mixture is finished, tie the other end of the casing into a knot.
  6. Twist the casing at regular intervals to create individual links, alternating between twisting in opposite directions.
  7. Using a metal skewer, poke 2 to 3 small holes in each sausage to allow air to escape during cooking.
  8. Cook as desired or chill in the fridge up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Taste test

For best results, set aside 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sausage mixture just before chilling in step 3. Form the mixture into a little ball, flatten slightly, then cook in a frying pan till no longer pink in the centre. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.


Homemade merguez

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (1)

Nearly half a kilo of harissa to a kilo of meat doesn't sound right to me-09 Feb 2018

Merguez: the North African sausage that’ll knock your socks off – Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

M erguez are long, thin and taste distinctly of North Africa, thanks to the harissa, paprika and other spices with which they’re made. The meat in these wonderful sausages is always either beef or lamb (or a mixture of the two), never pork, and although they’re ubiquitous throughout North Africa and France, they are not always so easy to find over here. If you can’t get hold of any, use the kebab mix in today’s first recipe. It’s coarser and not quite as fatty as classic merguez sausagemeat, but it’s just as heavy in spices and high in heat.

The Meatwave

There can't be a bad Meatwave&mdashas long as I'm with my friend and grilling, I'm happy&mdashbut some certainly stand out as true achievements. One of those was last summer's Meatroccan Nights, where I decided to do an entirely Moroccan-themed menu that spanned eight different recipes. I tend to overdue the amount of recipes I tackle each time I have an audience, but that's part of the game, especially considering they won't all be winners. On that day last June though, each thing I pulled off the grill just seemed better than the last, and by the end of the day I remember feeling very accomplished and proud of what had just transpired. So to relive one of my prouder grilling moments, I'm dedicating the entire month of July to the Moroccan-influenced recipes from that day, beginning with the one that sparked the idea in the first place&mdashmerguez.

Next to tagines, merguez is one of the first things I think of when anyone mentions Moroccan cuisine. These little sausages are crazy delicious with their spicy and earthy flavor against rich and juicy lamb. A good merguez sandwich is my go-to when I'm doing quicker Moroccan meals, and it rarely disappoints.

Merguez was consistently on my to-do list, but one detail always gave me pause when considering tackling it&mdashsheep casings. Yes, to get those small links, sheep casings, instead of the larger hog casings, must be used. Other sausage makers I've talked to have lamented working with these delicate casing that are prone to bursting, and because of that, I just assumed I didn't want to even go through that frustration. But it was finally time to face my fear and give into my strong desire to make merguez.

As I emptied the large quantity of sheep casings into a bowl for soaking, I thought I had made a huge mistake. A fecal aroma filled my kitchen and seemed like it permeated in ever nook and cranny of my house at first. Sure, hog casings don't smell great, but they aren't rank like these were. After an initial shock at the odor, I composed myself and carried on.

I hoped that the meat and spices I was going to be working with would overtake that stench, and while it never did, my stomach started correcting itself as I began putting together the seasonings for the merguez. These started with whole cumin, coriander, and fennel that was toasted and ground. Those potent spices were then mixed with paprika and cayenne and set aside.

I then moved onto the meat portion, unfolding a beautiful leg of lamb that I cubed, removing any sinew and silver skin as I went. I added in a pound of cubed fat back, and then tossed all the meat with the spice mixture along with garlic and harissa&mdasha North African hot chili paste.

I've become accustomed to seasoning the meat before grinding, but I'm not quite sure why. I think it may date back to these chicken sausages with basil and tomatoes, where basil and sun dried tomatoes were added before processing to make use of the grinder to further break down those ingredients. It's a habit I should break, because grinding with the spices tends to just be messier and there's likely little to no advantage&mdashI haven't tested this theory yet, but I'm pretty sure it's true.

Really, the spices are probably best added after grinding and before mixing. I take my sausages for a spin in my KitchenAid along with a little liquid to form an loose emulsion and create a more cohesive, finer texture. Since the meat gets well incorporated in this stage, the spices and seasoning would distribute nicely throughout the meat here.

With the meat done and confirmed delicious after cooking and eating a little merguez patty, I was feeling good. That high was about to go downhill as I moved on to stuffing.

By this point, I had become accustomed to the off smell of the casings, but as soon as I started handling them, I suffered a relapse of that initial unpleasantness I experienced. That, with the combination that they were difficult to get on the horn, already made me a bit agitated.

Then the expletives started to fly as my fear was confirmed and the casings kept bursting in quick succession. This meant more tedious work of loading up the casings, and more dealing with that odor.

After a while though, I seemed to be getting the hang of it. I slightly under stuffed the sausages to help prevent bursting, and by the end, I can say things went smoothly, more or less. Once the last of the meat was safely encased, I was only too happy to salt those stinky casings and get them back in the fridge.

At the grill, I was faced with yet another test of my will. As I put these little merguezs over direct heat, they quickly went up in flames. My heart sank as I wondered if all the torture I put myself through up to this point was fading in a blaze of glory, but alas, I had a two-zone fire and was able to safely move these links to the cool side of the grill and roast them until done.

One taste of a finished link and all struggle that came before was quickly forgotten&mdashthe merguez was awesome! The links had the unique earthy heat that defines them, along with the full flavor of lamb that stayed juicy despite the fact that I had almost scorched them to death. The links were a great start to what was going to become a better day whose best part was that beauty of a sandwich above, but that's a story for next week.

Published on Tue Jul 1, 2014 by Joshua Bousel


  • Yield 4 pounds
  • Prep 1 Hour 20 Minutes
  • Cook 10 Minutes
  • Total 1 Hour 30 Minutes


  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons whole fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes and removed of gristle
  • 1 pound lamb, beef, or pork fat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic (about 6 medium cloves)
  • 1/3 cup harissa
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • Lamb casings, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes prior to use


  1. Place cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Transfer spice mixture to a small bowl and mix in paprika, salt, and cayenne.
  2. Place lamb and fat in a large bowl. Add in spice mixture, garlic, and harissa. Toss to through coat meat and fat in spices. Place in refrigerator until ready to grind.
  3. Grind mixture through a meat grinder, fitted with small die, into a bowl set in ice.
  4. Using paddle attachment of a standing mixer, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add in water and mix until liquid is incorporated and sausage is uniform and sticky, about 1 minute more.
  5. Form a small sausage patty place rest of sausage mixture in refrigerator. Cook patty in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through. Taste and adjust seasonings of sausage if necessary.
  6. Stuff sausage into lambs casings and twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  7. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill over medium-high direct heat until sausage registers 155°F when an instant read thermometer is inserted in middle of link. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve.

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David Somerville Beautiful sausages!

I have never worked with lamb casings. not looking forward to fecal aromas. think I'll stick with hogs! Posted Tue, Jul 1 2014 9:21PM

BK All Day awesome! if merguez is ever on the menu anywhere i can't not order it. may have to breakout the kitchenaide mixer (wedding present that is still in the box). Posted Fri, Jul 4 2014 1:23AM

Mike Baylus So I made these this morning, and wow! What a juicy, flavorful sausage! I've been making sausages for some time, but have somehow skipped these babies. They'll be in my regular rotation from now on. I ended up using pork fat, as there wasn't enough extra fat on the shoulder chops to use. Also, I couldn't find jarred harissa easily, so I made my own. Pretty easy. Thanks for this recipe! Posted Fri, Aug 28 2015 1:25PM

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen juice concentrate - any flavor except citrus, thawed
  • 3 ½ quarts cold water, or as needed

Combine the yeast, sugar and juice concentrate in a gallon jug. Fill the jug the rest of the way with cold water. Rinse out a large balloon, and fit it over the opening of the jug. Secure the balloon with a rubber band.

Place jug in a cool dark place. Within a day you will notice the balloon starting to expand. As the sugar turns to alcohol the gasses released will fill up the balloon. When the balloon is deflated back to size the wine is ready to drink. It takes about 6 weeks total.

Use a frozen juice concentrate without added sweeteners for best results.

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Homemade Merguez Sausages

These little merguez sausages may not look quite as perfect as store-bought ones, but they will taste so much better. It’s actually really easy to make your own sausages, and also reassuring to know exactly what has gone in them.

Course: Main
Recipe contains:

  • 400 g lean lamb mince
  • 100 g lamb fat, chopped (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the lamb mince, fat, harissa, cinnamon, garlic, fennel seeds, mint and salt together in a bowl and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.

Heat the barbecue to medium. Form the lamb mixture into sausage shapes and cook for 8–10 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through. Serve with a simple salad of tomato, red onion wedges and pickled red onion.


You should be able to source a piece of lamb fat from your butcher. Harissa is a North African paste made from chillies, paprika and olive oil. It’s available from supermarkets and specialty food stores.

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Homemade merguez with herby yogurt

I had lunch with Julia Turshen a couple months ago (mostly so I could fangirl out and try to sponge up some curl tips for my moppet) and one of my favorite things she told me was that when she moved from Brooklyn to upstate with her wife her cooking changed because all of a sudden she was doing it everyday. She felt she got better at cooking from her gut, throwing meals together with whatever they had — it’s simply not an option to eat out or order in every night the way she could before so not every meal could be a performance piece. Sometimes it’s just chicken on the grill with a good sauce and salad on the side.

If you’re anything like me — but with a cleaner apartment, I bet — you’re thinking “wait, tell me about the sauce!” because odds are, like the avocado-cucumber salad I spied on the side of her plate a year ago and ran off to tell you about, it’s something crazy simple that you didn’t realize you knew how to make and now you’re 300x more excited to grill chicken and make salad tonight. The good news for us is that Turshen, who previously only hid her cooking talent behind larger-than-life names like Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dana Cowin, Hot Bread Kitchen, Buvette, Fat Radish… seriously, I’m just getting started… finally penned her own book with all the great simple sauces and 400 other things I cannot wait to cook.

Our conversation (also, we’re having another one on Thursday!) did not turn to sausage making, but apparently, she does this too. Meat grinders? Casings? No thank you, right? But once she realized that sausage is essentially highly seasoned ground meat, she began forming them into patties and for an ambitious but not-too-ambitious weeknight meal. Her merguez is perfect — sure, I can get it around here from a couple good butchers, but it’s often too spicy for the kids and this is so much better: seasoned exactly to taste and crispy from the pan. You serve it with an herbed yogurt and for us, a tomato-cucumber salad on the side and some pita wedges. You could also make them into little sliders in pitas with a tahini sauce and crunchy greens, falafel-style. And then one day you might be at lunch and will casually drop that you made sausage last night from and it took about 15 minutes because this is us now: people who make amazing things on weekday nights like it is no big deal. Or, at least tonight.


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Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt

To serve

Make the merguez: If using whole spices, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Combine lamb, spices, including paprika, harissa, garlic and 1 teaspoon (Turshen called for 1 1/2, which was very salty and we liked it but probably not for everyone) kosher salt and mix to combine. Form into 12 mounds.

[Do ahead: You can keep the mixed meat patties and herbed yogurt in the fridge for up to 3 days.]

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Coat with olive oil and once it is very hot, add a few sausage mounds. Once they hit the frying pan, flatten them with the back of your spatula. Cook until brown and crispy underneath, then flip and cook for another minute or two. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining meat.

Serve patties warm with herby yogurt and scattered with extra herbs and shredded cabbage, if desired, plus wedges of lemon to squeeze over.

Homemade Moroccan Merguez Sausage

3 pounds Premio Sweet Italian Sausage Meat
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons salt

  • Always cook pork sausage to a minimum internal temperature of 160° F using a meat thermometer.
  • Always cook chicken sausage to a minimum internal temperature of 165° F using a meat thermometer.

Share Recipe:

How to make Homemade Moroccan Merguez Sausage:

1. In a skillet, toast the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds over medium heat. Should be fragrant! Let the seeds cool and then grind until powdery.

2. Combine ground spices with paprika, cayenne and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in the ground sausage, oil, mint, garlic and salt until well-mixed!

3. To shape the sausage links, roll the seasoned mixture into small tubes (4 inches long and 1 inch wide.) Cook the sausage right away in a skillet or grill until browned.


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