Merguez, walnuts and raisins stuffing

Merguez is a kind of spicy North African sausage.

When I moved out of my parents place, one of the things I had to accept was the sad fact that merguez won’t be part of my life anymore. I have to say that I was also sad about other things like daily cooked meals and clean laundry, but merguez was a bigger deal because a good merguez is a serious thing. It’s not just cased minced meat mixed with North African spices. It’s a real treat. Merguez is so good, you can basically enjoy it with nothing else but good bread and be the happiest person on earth.

For many years, I had to wait until I visit my parents to be able to enjoy them. My parents love making homemade merguez (homemade everything actually) and I guess the reason why I never thought of making my own merguez is because I didn’t have a sausage stuffer and I didn’t see the point of owning one in my tiny, tiny student room.

Today although my home is definitely bigger than my student room, I still don’t have a sausage stuffer, but it's fine because I decided that I could enjoy my merguez with no casing, like in this recipe! This stuffing was good it made me emotional and wanting to call everyone to say “I've just cooked the best stuffing, come and try it”. But I didn't and I decided to keep it all for my self. 

Merguez, walnuts and raisins stuffing

INGREDIENTS

Merguez meat

  • 2 tablespoons ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • 500 gr minced lamb or beef (or a mix of both,) 20% fat 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Merguez, walnut and raisins stuffing

  • 80 gr unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 500 gr merguez meat
  • 230 gr stale bread, roughly chopped into 1 to 2 cm pieces
  • 4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 100 gr golden raisins
  • 100 gr chopped walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 500 ml chicken stock

METHOD

• Prepare the merguez meat. Toast the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant.

• Use a mortar and a pestle to roughly grind the seeds. Alternatively, use a food processor.

• Transfer all the merguez ingredients along with the toasted seeds in a large bowl and mix to combine. Use your hands to make sure all the ingredients are nicely mixed. Cover and place in the fridge.

• Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

• Melt 60 gr butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat and add the chopped onions, celery and garlic. Cover with a lid and leave for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions and celery are soft. Once done, transfer in a (very) large bowl. We will keep adding ingredients to this bowl so we need a very big one.

• In the same skillet melt the remaining butter over medium heat and add the merguez meat. While the meat is cooking use a wooden spoon to break it up.  Cook for 7 minutes until the merguez meat turns brown.

• In the large bowl that contains the cooked onions and celery, add the cooked merguez meat, bread, parlsey, raisins and walnuts. Mix all the ingredients together. Taste the stuffing and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

• Transfer the stuffing mixture in a large baking dish (22 cm x 33 cm – 9 inch x 11 inch OR 25 cm – 10 inch round dish). Don’t hesitate the flatten it with your hands if it looks like it won’t fit in the dish.

• Pour the chicken stock over the stuffing and transfer in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour until bubbling and golden on top.

Notes

• If your minced meat is less than 20 % fat, adjust the fat content by adding minced fat that you can purchase from your butcher.