Lamb Crépinettes à la Merguez

Spice Grinder
Stand mixer with meat grinding attachment or meat grinder


Remove the stems of the ancho chilis, shake out and remove seeds. Place in a spice grinder and grind to a powder.


In a dry skillet, toast the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds for about three minutes, until they are fragrant. Grind to a powder.


Mince the garlic on a cutting board then sprinkle with salt and press into a paste using sweeping motions with the side of a chef knife.


In a small bowl, mix the ancho powder, spice mix, and garlic with the salt, black pepper, paprika, and olive oil. Set aside.


Cut lamb shoulder and pork fat into 1-inch-thick cubes. Add spice mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Chill your grinder attachments.


With chilled grinder attachments fitted to the stand mixer, grind the seasoned mixture through a small plate. Run half of the mixture through a second time. Mix well with your hands to ensure uniformity.


Test for seasoning, making a small patty and frying. Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Portion into 3-ounce patties.


Spread caul fat onto the cutting board and cut five-inch squares. Wrap the patties in the caul fat.


Grill over hot coals or in a grill pan, about three minutes per side. Enjoy hot.
  • 2 ounces dried ancho chili peppers
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless lean lamb shoulder
  • 1/3 pound pork fat
  • 2 pounds caul fat

Cook's Notes

Crépinettes are traditional French flat sausage patties wrapped in caul fat. Caul fat is the beautiful spider-like web of fat that surrounds the organs of the animal. It looks like your grandmother’s old lace. Using caul fat to wrap these little sausage packages instead of casing makes this recipe much simpler to execute, and in my opinion, much more interesting.

French crépinettes are typically seasoned with five spice, sage, marjoram, or truffles. The street food scene in France has always been crazy about Morrocon merguez sausages and I thought this would be a fun summer twist. Ancho chili is my Californian contribution to the mix, borrowed from Alice Waters. Adding the pork fat (always a great idea) ensures a moist and tasty sausage and just makes it porkier.

This is my take on a merguez-inspired lamb crépinette. Grill over a wood fire, coals, or in a grill pan. However you heat, it won’t disappoint.

Thinking about summer in the South of France, this is meant for a summer pairing of rosé; however, you can’t go wrong with a red wine.