Merguez Burgers
Adapted from the New York Times, courtesy of Melissa Clark

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped; more for serving
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Olive oil, for cooking (I used canola)

3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp fresh mint, chopped
a pinch or two of salt

Harissa, for serving (optional)



1. Toast cumin, coriander and fennel seeds over medium-low heat, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the spices to a spice grinder or a mortar and grind until seeds are finely ground.

2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well together. This process works a lot better if you’re mixing by hand rather than using a spoon. Form the mixture into flat patties roughly the size of your palm. If you have unusually large palms, then use your imagination: your want to fit the patties inside a cut pita. The patties should be roughly 1-inch thick. Chill for up to 5 day, freeze for up to 3 months, or use immediately.

3. While your meat is chilling, mix together lettuce, tomatoes and the onion. Set aside.

4. Stir together the yogurt, cilantro, mint and salt and set that aside as well.

5. When you are ready to cook the burgers, brush patties with oil and grill or broil them until they are completely cooked through. You can also fry them in a bit of oil until they’re browned all over and aren’t pink on the inside.

4. Serve these stuffed inside a pita with a salad, drizzled yogurt sauce and harissa. I found it easier to fit inside a pita with all the accouterments if I sliced the patty lengthwise.

Yield: About 1 pound of sausages.

© 2024 Olga Massov