Showing posts with label Merguez Sausage Patties with Golden Raisin Couscous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Merguez Sausage Patties with Golden Raisin Couscous. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Merguez Lamb Patties and Gold Raisin Couscous

Kibbi at Open Sesame
        The first time Andrew and I went out West to see Mason, my grandson, Kym and Alex took us to Open Sesame, a Lebanese Mediterranean Grill in Long Beach (5215 E. 2nd Street, Long Beach CA. Tel: (562) 621-1698).  It was our first foray into Lebanese food and it was a huge hit with us.  We started out with an appetizer of Kibbi, a shell of lean ground beef and bulgar filled with pignoli nuts, onions and herbs.  For the main course, I opted for Kafta, a wonderful spicy skewer of ground sirloin and lamb mixed together and then grilled.  Between the Kibbi and the Kafta, there was a little redundancy.  However they were both so delicious, that on my next trip west, I practically begged Kym and Alex to take me there.  I was so into the food that I asked Omar, our waiter, if I could possibly get the recipe for both Kibbi and Kafta. He was very apologetic that somebody had taken their house cookbook home! 
Kafta with Hummus and Basmati Rice at Open Sesame
        I’ve been craving those flavors ever since.  And one night recently I was also craving lamb.  Doing a quick search, I found a recipe from the late lamented Gourmet that captured the distinct taste of North Africa’s wonderful spicy Merguez sausages.  In this case, you create your own Merguez flavor by incorporating a whole medley of spices into the ground lamb.  Pairing this with the sweetness of a raisin-filled couscous contrasts perfectly with the deep spice of the meat.  At Open Sesame, the Kafta was served with a garlic-y hummus and a cucumber yogurt salad.  You could easily add these to the plate and have a feast of Lebanese and North African flavors.  I opted to steam some fresh asparagus that gave the plate a little color, crunch and springtime appeal.  This dinner will take you  all of about 15 minutes to prepare and a total of 30 minutes from start to finish.  Here are the recipes:

Recipe for Merguez Sausage Patties and Golden Raisin Couscous

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

*Harissa is essential to this dish.  It is not that uncommon. I found it at Fairway. You can order it on-line at
Lamb with spice mixture added 

  1. 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. 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. 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.
  5.     Serve patties on couscous.