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Merguez

This in another recipe I’m recreating from that restaurant we love in San Francisco, Gitane Restaurant and Bar. It is one their Catalan Flatbreads.

Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, pork, or a mixture of two or all three. It is heavily spiced with harissa, garlic, peppercorns, cumin, fennel, and more. You can buy it online from several sources or make the homemade version, provided here.

For some insane reason, I forgot to sprinkle my finished flatbread with the fresh cilantro. It could have had something to do with all the martinis I was making (and enjoying) all night! Don’t follow my lead, it is the cilantro that truly makes this flatbread exceptional. Oh, and no worries, I promise that the martini recipes using my infused vodkas will be posted on Sunday.

Lamb Merguez Flatbread

Lamb Merguez
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
8-ounces smoked bacon
1 pound ground lamb
1 small head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons harissa, or more to taste
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
Flatbread
1  1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour
1  1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toppings
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers; cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
1 bunch fresh cilantro; well washed, dried, and roughly chopped

Lamb Merguez: Place the fennel, cinnamon, peppercorns, coriander, and cumin seed in an electric spice grinder. Pulse until spices are ground together. Set aside.

Place the raw bacon strips in a the bowl of food processor and process, using the pulse button, until nearly smooth. Add the lamb, the spice mixture, garlic, harissa, and vinegar. Combine all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Flatbread:  In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together water, yeast, and sugar until well mixed. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add oil and mix on low speed until combined. Switch from paddle to dough hook and knead on medium speed until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides, about 6 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape dough into ball and transfer to bowl. Turn over  to coat lightly with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While dough is rising, position rack near bottom of oven and place a pizza stone on the rack. Preheat oven to 450 degrees for 1 hour. Prepare the toppings.

Lamb and Toppings:  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or two of the lamb. Stir until cooked through. Remove from pan and taste, add more harissa, if needed.  Once the lamb is to your liking, heat the skillet again and cook up all of the lamb, breaking up with a metal spatula until completely cooked through.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Do not wash out the skillet.

Heat the same skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and when hot, saute the peppers and onion for 2 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic. Continue to saute until the peppers are just crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out each piece into a long thin rectangle with a rolling pin on a floured surface until each is about 1/8-inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap so pieces do not dry out. Transfer one flatbread at a time to a pizza peel or the bottom of a large baking sheet, dusted with flour.

Transfer 1 flatbread at a time to preheated pizza stone and bake in batches until slightly puffed but still pale, about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. (Flatbread crusts may be pre-baked in this manner up to 2 hours ahead.)

Assemble and Bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees with pizza stone in place for 1 hour.

Brush each flatbread with olive oil. Scatter with cheese, lamb merguez, and pepper-onion mixture.

Transfer 1 or more flatbreads to preheated pizza stone and bake in batches until toppings are warmed through and cheese has melted, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer flatbreads to a large cutting board and top with cilantro Using a very sharp knife, cut into rectangular slices and serve immediately.

Makes about 20 to 24 slices


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1 comment

1 Sloane { 08.19.11 at 11:31 AM }

Yummy! I would love to try this….maybe I will make it!

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