Yotam Ottolenghi’s merguez kebabs

This recipe was in yesterday’s Guardian. I reproduce it here because I decided to give it a try and it was delicious. I’ll definitely make these kebabs again. Yotam suggests serving them with a tomato and cucumber salad, which I did, but I also made another salad with thinly-sliced white cabbage, fennel and red onions, for extra crunch.

Anyway, over to Mr Ottolenghi;

Merguez 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.
Merguez kebabs

Use this mix to make these kebabs, or as sausagemeat. These quantities will give you just the right amount for today’s potato bake dish, but more than you need for the scotch eggs; any you don’t use can be frozen or fried up for a smaller batch of these kebabs. Makes eight, to serve four (or 650g raw sausagemeat).

500g minced lamb (20% fat)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp rose harissa
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp olive oil
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt

Put everything in a large bowl with a teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, mix to combine, then form into eight kebabs about 12cm long x 4cm wide x 2cm thick. Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes, to rest and for the flavours to develop.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put a frying pan on a medium-high heat and ventilate the kitchen. Once the pan is hot, fry the kebabs for two to three minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown all over. Transfer to a small tray, tip off any excess oil and bake for 10 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with a tomato and cucumber salad and some pitta.”

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