Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moroccan Lamb Sausage with Golden Raisin Couscous

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I thought I had escaped the annual curse, but I just can't beat back the wanderlust that overcomes me at this time of year. It's the kind of yearning that a day trip to the coast or mountains simply will not cure. So, I pull out the travel brochures and the unrequited wish lists from years past, and the Silver Fox and I spend hours charting the course for yet another adventure. Our destination this year will be North Africa and the Middle East, but the specific areas we'll be visiting are completely dependent on the political climate come next fall. In the meantime, I'll be delving into the cooking of the region, so the food we encounter won't come as a complete surprise to us. I've made the recipe I'm featuring tonight several times, and it has much to commend it. It is fast, easy and relatively inexpensive. Better still, I think you'll find the spicy lamb sausage, called Merguez, to be absolutely delicious. I found the recipe for the lamb patties in an old issue of Gourmet magazine, and I think you'll find it to be is straight forward and hard to spoil. I do, however, have one caution to share with you. It is easy to overcook the lamb and you don't want to do that. The time listed in the recipe below will give you medium rare lamb patties, but I aim for something pinker, so I cut the cooking time from 9 to 7 minutes. The raisin-couscous is a perfect foil for the spicy and juicy lamb and the entire meal can be on the table in about 30 minutes. If, like me, you tire of repetition and enjoy sampling food from other regions, I hope you'll give this recipe a try. You will not regret it. Most of you will be able to find harissa in large grocery stores, but should you have to make it, I have a recipe for you HERE. Here's how this simple flavor packed meal is made. Enjoy!

Merguez Lamb Patties with Golden Raisin Couscous...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Andrea Albin and Gourmet magazine

1-1/4 teaspoons fennel seeds
1-1/4 pounds ground lamb
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons harissa (spicy North African condiment)
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Zest of 1 lemon

1) Toast fennel seeds in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Grind to a fine powder in grinder.
2) Mix together lamb, garlic, harissa, spices (including fennel), and 1/2 teaspoon salt thoroughly with your hands (do not overmix). Form into 4 oval patties (about 3/4 inch thick).
3) Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook patties, turning once, about 9 minutes total for medium-rare.
4) While patties cook, bring broth, raisins, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in couscous. Let stand off heat, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; stir in cilantro, zest, and salt to taste. Serve patties on couscous. Yield: 4 servings.

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Ginny Hartzler said...

This looks wonderful! Sadly, I have only ever made lamb as Irish Stew. It can hard to find.

Red Nomad OZ said...

I take the words 'hard to spoil' as a personal challenge!!! But the REAL challenge will be finding golden raisins!!! Not so common where I am downunder!!

Alicia Foodycat said...

These look absolutely gorgeous! We're sort of looking at a short holiday in North Africa this year, but like you it'll be dependent on the stability in the area.

Unknown said...

I'm so envious of the travels you and the Silver Fox take... and to experience so many different cuisines!! Can't wait to see what you come up with - if this is what is in store for us, it's going to be good :)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Mary, you sound just like my husband and I when it comes to traveling and food. I usually buy my sausages but they are hard to find. I can't wait to try this recipe.

Kim said...

This really looks good!

David said...

Mary, Lamb sausage? Good luck finding it here in East Tennessee! Your entree looks great though! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

In this inbetween seasons it is so easy to get caught up in dreaming of our next vacation. Africa seems like a wonderful dream.

Gerlinde in Washington said...

Your trip sounds just wonderful and I hope very much things will be relatively peaceful by the time you go.

This recipe uses spices I just love. Can't wait to give it a try!

Tricia Buice said...

I have dreamed of Africa - I hope you have a wonderful trip. In the meantime I will have to look into this recipe - I haven't cooked much with lamb but can't wait to try.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I admire your wanderlust - and your ability to pre-test a trip at your dinner table! The lamb patties sounds extraordinary - and much quicker than hopping on a plane!

From the Kitchen said...

I feel vindicated in my obsessive hoarding of Gourmet!! I do believe that I have this lamb sausage recipe issue.
My son vacationed in Egypt for several weeks in September (a few days after the incident in Libya). They had a wonderful time in the "cradle of civilization" and never felt unsafe. Adam has downloaded over 3000 photos so let me know if you'd like to view them. = )


Diane said...

Ah I must try this recipe as well. We are hooked on Moroccan flavours :-) Keep well Diane

Chiara said...

These look delicious and tasty! have a good day Mary, blessings....

Susan Lindquist said...

Delish! I love Moroccan cuisine!

teresa said...

the flavors sound to warm and aromatic, delicious!

Valérie said...

I do love merguez, the spicier the better. Your future trip sounds exciting!

Anonymous said...

oh this looks wonderful! just perfect to get you into the mood for travel!
Mary x

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Moroccan has never looked so delicious my friend :D

Choc Chip Uru

Unknown said...

It sounds like this recipe has everything going for it! Taste, texture, nutrition and ease, what more could you ask for? Thanks!

France@beyondthepeel said...

Moroccan spices with lamb...mmmm. That is absolutely wonderful. I used to work for a guy that served his with pistachio salsa. This reminds me of that. Salivating...

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