Merguez... mmmhh. Whenever I hear the word Merguez, I can't help but think of summer afternoons at my uncle’s house just outside of Strasburg, in the Alsace region of France. When I was a kid, we’d visit the family every other week or so, and in the summertime, my uncle would always grill up some Merguez sausages.
I remember thinking back then how they were the longest, thinnest sausages I’d ever seen. I wasn’t used to that at all. But even more unusual to me was that they were spicy. Spicy food in central Europe is not exactly a popular thing! Despite all that, I couldn’t get enough of them. It was like an exotic food to me.
Back then, I had no idea that Merguez were actually a typical north African sausage. Although, they are also particularly popular in France, Israel and in the German state of Saarland (right next to Palantine and the French border). In Germany, they are often grilled on a Schwenker. What’s a Schwenker you may ask? Well, a Schwenker is a swinging grill which hangs over a fire from a tripod. And just so you know, the person in charge of the Schwenker is called the Schwenkermeister. Ahhhh, you gotta love the German language sometimes .
Alright, enough of my little German lesson here. Lets move on to what I really wanna talk about– my Merguez burger. The idea came to me when I saw a recipe for a sausage patty, and I thought, "Why not make a Merguez patty, instead?" After all, it’s a sausage too, right? Why not make a whole friggin' burger out of this?! Yeah? Yeah!
Merguez sausages are relatively unknown in the US right now. Your local gourmet market or high-end supermarkets, like Wegmans, will carry Merguez. You can also get it online at www.D’Artagnan.com and have it delivered to your home. They are incredibly tasty, but look nothing like the kind you'd get in France. But it doesn’t matter much how they look for this recipe, as I am taking the sausage out of the casing anyhow.
All-in-all, this is a pretty easy burger to make. Spices and such are already added, so all you have to do is remove the casing, form the patty and voila! Nice and easy. To me, nothing goes better with this burger than a nice refreshing dollop of garlicky cucumber Tzatziki on top. And what goes on the bottom, you may wonder? Well, def no ketchup in this case– it's none other than my tomato chutney.
I love to use tomato chutney in all kinds of recipes. I'll make it in big batches and store it in jars so I always have some on hand. Having the chutney done ahead of time made this burger even faster for me to put together.
You can serve the burger on a sprouted or whole wheat bun. Or choose whatever bread pleases you. Enjoy!
Merguez Burger with Tomato Chutney and Tzatziki
for the burgers
2 packages of d’Artagnan Merguez sausages (casing removed)
2 sprouted or whole wheat buns
for the Tzatziki
1 jar of 2% fage greek yogurt
1 mini seedless cucumber
½ tsp dried Dill
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
for the tomato chutney
1 small small red onion, finely sliced
1lb vine ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 red chilies, de-seeded, sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 tsp salt and pepper
3 tsp brown sugar
make it :
make the burgers
Form the Merguez patties and set aside. With the grill on high, grill for 7 minutes per side. Don’t forget to toast the buns real quick. Once the burgers are ready, spread a good tablespoon of chutney onto the bottom half of the bun, place the burger on top, and finish up with a big dollop (or as much as you like) of the Tzatziki…. and top with micro greens. Makes 2 patties.
make the Tzatziki
Grate the cucumber into a sieve with a bowl underneath. Once finished grating add salt and let stand for about 10-15 minutes. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the cucumber, either with a spoon or hands. In a small bowl transfer the grated cucumber into the yogurt, add the minced garlic, salt, pepper and dill and whip it up!
Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Set aside.
make the chutney
Saute onions until soft, then add the diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes softened up a bit, add the vinegar, sugar and honey. Continue simmering for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture becomes jammy. Transfer to a glass jar or bowl and cover.