Merguez are sausages with an attitude! These spicy and distinctive sausages are found all over North Africa and during our month in Morocco, I nearly overdosed on them like I nearly od’d on mint tea, various tagines and of course, my favourite Moroccan sweet bites – the gluten free Moroccan Almond Cookies!
Just a quick update on what we’re up to, some of you may know that we’d been travelling for almost 4 months. We were supposed to be spending December in Skopje, Macedonia and January in Istanbul but unfortunately, have had to call time on the travelling because of an illness in the family.
So we’re back in the UK now, and thoroughly enjoying the cold, dark and wet! Seriously! Four months in warm to very warm weather with not much rain (it only rained once the whole time we were in Morocco) has left us with greater than usual appreciation of winter.
With the exception of my husband, we are all autumn/winter lovers and are thoroughly enjoying being back in the cold. Of course, the fact that Christmas is around the corner, makes the deal a whole lot sweeter!
But let’s talk sausages!
And let’s talk about how to make them! Without a machine! I think festive periods are the perfect time to play in the kitchen, and Christmas, for so many reasons, is an especially magical time for culinary experiments. We have many tried and tested “Christmas recipes“, the ones that make an appearance every Christmas like Cranberry Sauce and Christmas Pudding but one of the things I love most this time of year is the scope for rustling up new and forgotten dishes! Thank goodness we eat so much this time of year!
So if you are at all like me and I know you are, and you’ve never made your own sausages because perhaps you don’t have a sausage machine, well, there is no time like the present!
Merguez are pretty heavily spiced with various spices like cumin and coriander and are traditionally hot because of the addition of harissa. Of course, how hot you make it is always a matter of taste.
They are incredible delicious and I serve them in so many different ways, like regular sausages of course, but because of their origin, serving them with couscous seems to be a rather obvious way to go.
I also love making a lamb and merguez tagine, the sausages lend a deeper layer of profile that is to die for. And another favourite way to eat merguez? In sandwiches! With salad and mayo – unbeatable!
If you have a sausage machine, by all means go ahead and use it but on this blog, I like to give the no machine method, because in my experience, most folks don’t own a sausage making machine.
When I make sausages for a fairly low number of people, I am too lazy to get the sausage machine out and years ago, realised that one of my disposable piping bags does the job perfectly. And in my cooking classes, I teach both methods, for obvious reasons – I want my students inspired when they leave class!
You might also be interested in the other 2 sausage recipes I have on this site:
Now, in my recipe, I use my own Merguez Spice Mix, quickly made at home and stored along with the other spices. Technically, one can just throw in the spices like cumin, coriander and fennel when making the sausage mix but I much prefer having the mix all ready. For two reasons:
It makes the sausage prep so much easier and quicker.
I can use the Merguez Spice Mix for so many other things, I especially like them in omelettes.
So here’s the recipe, let me know what you think!
Merguez, Spicy North African Sausages
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl and leave aside for about an hour, preferable overnight, for the flavours to develop.
- Soak the sausage casing in warm water for 20 minutes, then lightly pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Snip the end of a piping bag, about an inch from the end.
- To make the sausages, slip the casing over the cut end of the piping bag and keep pulling the casing over as much as you can, gathering it back, concertina style.
- Leave about 6 inches of the casing hanging, to allow you to tie it up at the end.
- Start filling the casing with the sausage meat.
- Keep filling, topping up the piping bag as you go along.
- When done, cut of the extra casing and tie one end.
- Start to twist the sausages into links about 5 inches (12.5cm) long, making 3 twists at each intersection. Make clockwise twists the first time, the second link should be anticlockwise, the third link clockwise, and so on.
- Let the sausages sit in the fridge for an hour, to settle.
- They’ll keep in the fridge, covered, for 2 days or freeze for up to a month.
- Cook as you would regular sausages – on the stove, under the grill, on the barbecue, etc.