On a recent trip to Germany, I was amazed to see North African spiced lamb Merguez sausages appearing on traditional Bratwurst stand menus, and what’s more, they seemed to be just as popular. As I stood queuing for my Bratwurst in a crisp white roll, I listened to the conversation around me: “I’m going for a Merguez…” “Me too…” “Yeah, why not?” was the general gist of things. By the time I had reached the counter, I too was swayed by the exotic wafts of cumin rising from the grill, and to my surprise, didn’t order a Bratwurst. Sausages will always be loved in Germany, there is no doubt about that, but it seems that after centuries of the same old thing, the times are changing – and it’s exciting.
Merguez Sausage with Butter Beans and Roasted Red Peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
12 Merguez sausages, sliced into 1em rounds – if you can’t find Merguez, any spicy lamb sausage will do (Merguez are thin, like chipolatas)
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
320g roasted red peppers in oil (drained weight) – this is roughly one large jar
1 tbsp dried marjoram
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 x 570g jar of butter beans
For the herb yoghurt
200g Turkish or Greek thick yoghurt
2 spring onions, finely sliced
20 fresh mint leaves, roughly tom
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
4 slices of sourdough toast
olive oil, for drizzling
1 tbsp sumac
8 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, fry the sausage pieces with the cumin, if using, for around 6 minutes, until crisp all over and cooked through. Slice the red peppers into 1cm thick strips and add them to the sausages along with the dried marjoram, garlic and sweet paprika. Stir everything together, taste and season, stir once more, then add the butter beans and the liquid from their jar. Stir very gently so as not to break up the beans, then tum the heat down and let everything heat through for 5 minutes.
While the beans are heating, mix the yoghurt with the spring onions, mint and dill, taste and season accordingly. Now is a good time to put the bread into the toaster.
Lay the toast on plates, drizzle with olive oil, then spoon over the beans followed by a dollop of the herb yoghurt, a sprinkling of sumac and a few roughly torn mint leaves.
Extracted from Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings by Anja Dunk (4th Estate, approx €30)