March 17, 2007

Palle Makes Merguez

I'd been eyeing the recipe since I first unwrapped the book: Marcus Samuelsson's The Soul of a New Cuisine. The recipe? Merguez meatballs, which I've mentioned were on the hit-list before.

While the first dish to be made from the book was Chicken-Peanut Stew, I knew it wouldn't be too long before the meatballs would be on the table. What took me by surprise was the fact that I wasn't the one to make them. I bought the ingredients, and got started in the kitchen, but Palle came to help me out, and ended up doing all of the actual meatball creation and cooking, while I busied myself making rice and a somewhat less-spicy version of Spicy Carrot Coins. Why less spicy? Welll, because I wanted the spices in the merguez to shine through, and I didn't want too much cross-flavour contamination.

The meatballs were a resounding hit - the deliciousness of spiced lamb sausage, in super-easy meatball form...why hadn't I thought of this before? No fussing around with casings or extruding devices, just quick, simple and delicious. The recipe also made quite a lot of them. These are no demure soup-style meatballs, they're great, bloody golfballs, and densely meaty without any fillers. No problem, though - some were cooked up for dinner, some were frozen (raw) for a super-easy dinner at a later date, and some were flattened into thin patties for a home-version of that ever-so-famous english muffin based breakfast sandwich (more on that later).

At the end of the day, I'm glad that I scaled back on the heat of the carrot dish, because the merguez were not as spicy as I had anticipated. Neither were they quite as fiery-red as a merguez generally should be (in my mind, anyway). Simple enough to fix - next time I'll increase the harissa and the paprika, and both little quirks will be easily fixed.

I do wonder, though - plenty of the recipes in the book call for habanero peppers, without all the usual ensuing hand-wringing about how dangerous they are to work with. It made me think that the recipes wouldn't be dimmed-down for western palates, but now I'm not so sure. Certainly, the spicing seemed light when I examined the recipe, but I decided to go with the precise instructions. Merguez isn't usually the hottest sausage around, but I would like it to be a little bit peppier than our first go at this recipe. Next time...

4 comments:

linda said...

Do I need another cookbook?

Sara said...

great picture and the meatballs sound terrific.

stef said...

Wow, you've been blogging awhile and I just discovered your blog today -- how can that be??? You can be sure I'll be back again -- everything looks delicious! Hi from another Marcus Samuelsson fan.

Dawna said...

You know, Linda? You just might...

Thanks, Sara. We loved the meatballs. I'm planning to try the ones that we froze in a spaghetti dish with an African-inspired lemon sauce. I think it will be fantastic!

Thanks, Stef - I had seen Marcus Samuelsson as guest chef on a number of cooking shows over the years, and I'd love to go to Aquavit. I've been really happy with what I've made from the book so far, and there's a list of other recipes I'd like to make from it...

I forgot to mention in the post, but the tomato sauce that Palle made for this was simply using the pan drippings from the frying stage of the meatballs, adding plain tomato sauce and spicing it with garlic, cumin, coriander seed and allspice. Very tasty, and not at all Italianate. I like Italian tomato sauces, but somehow the merguez begged for something different.