A few years ago, a local sheep farmer asked me to develop a lamb sausage. I loved the idea because he was specifically looking for ways to use the fiddly bits left over from butchering. I decided to go for something with a Provencal character and came up with this recipe. Because of the fresh herbs, garlic and wine, it is best if eaten within a few days of making it. Also, I generally trim most visible fat from the lamb and use pork fat instead. This sausage will freeze but is best fresh.
Makes 3 pounds
2 1/2 pounds lamb (any cut but shoulder and breast are cheap and delicious), cut into 1-inch chunks and trimmed of fat
1/2 pound pork fat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup red wine
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
12 to 15 juniper berries, cracked and chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Spanish hot paprika
Freeze meat and fat until slightly frozen, about 1 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile, reduce wine over medium heat, to 1/2 cup.
Grind meats using a 1/8-inch plate. (Or pulse in a food processor until about the size of rice.) Add seasonings and wine and mix thoroughly by hand, kneading and squeezing mixture to distribute ingredients evenly, or use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer on low.
Chill for 1 hour then fry a small patty, taste and adjust seasonings if needed. At this point you can stuff casings using a stuffer or divide into bulk portions for later use.
For the stuffed version, I pre-cook these by simmering in red wine before grilling them, then serve with grilled banana peppers and Dijon mustard on baguettes.