Merguez-i Rapini

I’ve finally awoken from the holiday haze. And I’ve made a batch of this to set me back on track.

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This dish was born out of pure and utter desperation. Ironically, it’s now become a staple over here, its leftovers being morphed into breakfast, lunch and dinners.  But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, paleo folks don’t discriminate between foods. I’m pretty confident I’ve seen mention of a ham hock first thing in the morning. Finally, a place that can accept me for my chicken-for-breakfast ways!

This particular night the fridge was close to bare with some sad mushrooms and bag of rapini. It would make a great blog story if I told you I made a five-course meal out of these two items alone, but I’m no magician. Neither am I a vegetarian. (Which reminds me, my monthlong stint as a vegetarian actually would make a good story). So I fished through the freezer and found a pound of spicy merguez. All that went into a pan (the mushrooms in a separate pan to make some people that live here feel like there are more choices) and dinner was served.

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Recently I’ve been trying to play around with spice blends instead of opting for store bought mixes. In this pursuit I came across a new-to-me spice blend, ras el hanout which some versions of merguez contain. In my research, much to my relief, I came to the conclusion that the recipe is not cast in stone and ranges vastly from region to region, family to family, etc. After all, it can contain up to a hundred spices! So I wasn’t too fussed about getting it ‘just right’ with the grains of paradise (what?) and ash berries (huh?). Of course the easier thing would be to order if off Amazon but who likes ease? I linked my recipe below but you can order it online or just skip it all together.

In my version of ras el hanout I added coriander and cumin because I generally use it for merguez and other recipes that include cumin them. I also used dried rose buds to try to maintain some traditional integrity.

The best part of this recipe is that if you already have the merguez all you have to do is add rapini and garlic since the meat is infused with so much flavour. There’s your breakfast, lunch or dinner in under 20 minutes!

Merguez-i Rapini
Serves 2 or 4 as a side

Ingredients for Rapini:

  • 1 pound merguez sausage or merguez filling (recipe below)
  • 1 bunch rapini
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients for Merguez:

  • 1 pounds medium ground lamb
  • 4 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon spicy harissa
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout  (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Some ghee or avocado oil is your meat is lean

Instructions:

To make the merguez combine all the spices together in a medium sized bowl with the ground lamb…

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…Until it is thoroughly combined.

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Heat the ghee in a large pan over medium-high heat. When ghee is shimmering add your merguez in small chunks.

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As the sausage starts to brown, add your sliced garlic and cook until the meat is well-browned and slightly crisp on the edges. At this point you can drain off any excess fat. I kept it as I feel the oil lends flavour to the dish.

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Wash the rapini, cutting off any tough stems. Add it to the pan with salt, flipping it with tongs to coat it in the oils. Your rapini is done when the stems are tender with a bit of a bite, about 5 minutes.

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Here’s your dinner (with a side of something).

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Or breakfast.

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