Merguez. The name sounds as exotic as its flavor. Originally from North Africa, merguez is a sausage—usually made with lamb or beef. Firsthand Foods’ merguez is 100% pasture raised, North Carolina lamb. It has a wonderful spice blend with a spicy kick at the end. It’s a smaller sausage and can be a great substitute for our pork sausage in dishes like jambalaya. The French also love merguez. It is often grilled and served with a baguette or as an addition to a charcuterie platter.
Because merguez has the flavors of North Africa, I thought it would be a lovely addition to a tagine. The tagine is the name of the dish that derived from the clay pot that it is cooked in. Originally a Berber dish, most tagines include traditional ingredients such as apricots, raisins, olives and preserved lemons. The other ingredients vary by region. The sweet dried fruits and sweet potatoes in this recipe complement the spicy merguez. Served with the North African condiment, harissa, this meal is the perfect way to travel without leaving home.
- 1 – ¾ lb. package Firsthand Foods Merguez
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, quartered & thinly sliced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cubed
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ c. green olives, pitted
- ½ c. dried apricots, chopped
- ½ c. golden raisins
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 ½ c. chicken broth, divided
- 1 ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. Spanish paprika
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the merguez and cook for 3 -4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- To the skillet, add the onion, carrot, and fennel. Add ½ tsp. salt and sauté over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add sweet potato, apricots, raisins, lemon, and olives. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add spices and stir to coat ingredients. Pour mixture into a tagine or small baking dish with a lid.
- Add 1 ½ c. chicken broth, cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While vegetable mixture is in the oven, prepare the couscous according to the package directions using chicken broth instead of water.
- After 30 minutes, remove the tagine or baking dish from the oven. Place the Merguez on top of the vegetable mixture, replace the lid and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Serve over the couscous and garnish with cilantro and harissa.