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Rubaiyat Release Day

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Serves 8
Cakebread Cellars Culinary Team
Pairs well with:
Merlot, Napa Valley

This special appetizer was a hit at this year's Rubaiyat Release Day!


2 lbs. lamb shoulder or leg, diced into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. pork fat back, diced in 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. fennel, toasted and ground
1 tsp. coriander, toasted and ground
¾ tsp. cumin, toasted and ground
½ tsp. black peppercorns, toasted and ground
½ piece star anise, ground
¼ tsp. ground allspice
pinch ground cinnamon
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne
4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 T. olive oil
lamb casing
bamboo or stainless steel skewers

1 c. pistachios, lightly toasted
1 c. flat-leaf parley leaves
¼ c. mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. lemon juice

First step preparation

Place the cubed lamb and fat back in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the fennel, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, anise, allspice, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne salt & oil. Stir spice mixture into the meat and mix well. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet, transfer to the freezer, and chill until crunchy on the exterior but not frozen solid.

Assembly and presentation

Remove from freezer and grind in a meat grinder with the small die. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into a non-stick frying pan and spread into a thin patty. Cook the test patty over low heat until cooked through. Taste the sausage for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Stuff the sausage into lamb casings. Once all of the sausage is cased, begin twisting into a coil. This will make it easier for grilling. Using a bamboo or stainless steel skewer, pierce the outer end of the casing with a skewer and insert the skewer directly through the center of the coil. Rotate 90 degrees and run a second skewer directly through the center of the coil.

For the pesto, place pistachios, parsley, mint and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse machine while drizzling in the olive oil. Do not over process, the consistency should be slightly rough. Add lemon juice and season with salt.

To serve, grill the sausage of a hot grill on both sides until cooked through. Serve with the pistachio-mint pesto on the side.

Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Merlot.

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