North African sausage dish with local fingerlings & crispy onions
This recipe couldn't be easier. It's a bit of a cheat seeing as that I'm not grinding and casing my own sausages but I am roasting my own potats and crunchifying my own onions so I still see this as my own winning combination. Merguez sausage is traditionally a lamb or beef fresh sausage originating from North Africa but commonly enjoyed in the Middle East and Europe as well. This smokey spicy meat is packed with flavors like cumin, sumac, fennel, garlic, harissa and paprika which gives the merguez it's distinct red hue.
I'm completely mad about Moroccan flavors. They are so complex and interesting they really dance on your tongue. Since marrying a man who family is from Tangiers (Spanish Morocco) I've become quite good at preparing his favorite Moroccan meals. This dish really takes him back to his childhood and the memories of his grandmothers traditional cooking. There is actually quite a large Moroccan community in Toronto so you would think there would be some great Moroccan restaurants, however there are none. The famous Sultans Tent restaurant is pretty much a joke - only good for the decor and entertainment provided by the scantily clad belly dancers. Go for drinks and skip the food if you are tempted to go.
I have discovered two great places to buy pre-made merguez. Hartman's a kosher prepared foods spot who's merguez are slightly greasier but damn tasty - and kosher if you're into that type of thing. Or my ultimate favorite grocery store Fiesta Farms who's merguez are deep red and bursting with paprika and spicy goodness.
Another component to this recipe is the ras el hanout rubbed fingerling potatoes. These are to dye for! Ras el hanout is another wonderful flavor combination that comes from North Africa. I'll do a proper spice lesson on it in another post. All you need to know for now is that you can mix up your own or purchase a tried and tested blend from Williams Sonoma in a pinch.
Merguez with Ras el Hanout fingerling potatoes & crispy fried onions
Merguez sausage - pan fried
2 cookin onions - halved and thinly sliced
2 handfuls of fingerling potatoes - these were red skin yellow flesh cut into 4
ras el hanout - a few pinches
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp olive oil - to start the onions off frying
PREP:Slice onions and potatoes. Pre heat eat oven at 350 - toss potatoes with spices and a small amount of olive oil and begin to roast for 35 mins. COOK: Then in a cast iron pan (preferably) sauté onions & thyme in a small amount of olive oil until translucent -then add them to the potatoes. Add the merguez to the hot pan to sear - brown on all sides, then add the onions & potatoes to the merguez and continue to bake in the oven for another 20-25 mins. Until the potatoes are crisp, merguez are succulent and onions are crispy. Remove thyme before serving.