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Recipe: Merguez

Total time: About 1 hour, plus chilling time

Servings: This makes about 5 pounds sausage

Note: Adapted from "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing" by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. This recipe requires a meat grinder and sausage stuffer. Casings should be properly flushed and softened before using; consult your butcher or the packaging.

4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, diced into 1/2 -inch pieces

1 pound pork back fat, diced into 1/2 -inch pieces

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 cups diced roasted red peppers

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano

1/4 cup dry red wine, chilled

1/4 cup ice water

About 20 feet prepared sheep casings

1. In a large bowl, combine the lamb, back fat, salt, sugar, pepper flakes, garlic, roasted pepper, black pepper, paprika and oregano and toss to evenly distribute the seasonings. Cover and chill until ready to grind.

2. Grind the mixture through a meat grinder fitted with the finest plate into a large bowl set over an ice bath.

3. Add the wine and water to the meat mixture and mix in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, or by hand with a sturdy spoon, until the liquids are incorporated and the mixture has developed a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute on medium speed.

4. Fry a small patty until done to check the flavor and seasoning (the sausage should be cooked to an internal temperature of 150 degrees). If necessary, adjust salt, pepper and other seasonings, then fry another patty and check again.

5. Stuff the sausage into the sheep casings with a sausage stuffer and twist into 10-inch links. Refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 months until ready to cook.

Each 4-ounce serving: 344 calories; 19 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 29 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 83 mg. cholesterol; 563 mg. sodium.

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