Basque Lamb Sausage with White Beans

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
For the lamb sausage  
Cumin seeds 2 tsp.
Fennel seeds 2 tsp.
Caraway seeds 2 tsp.
Dried pequin chiles ½ cup
Sweet smoked paprika (pimentón) 1-1/4 tsp.
Salt, divided use 1 Tbsp. plus ¼ tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground 1-1/4 tsp.
Garlic cloves 7 ea.
Olive oil, extra virgin 1 Tbsp.
Boneless shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes 3 lb. 8 oz.
Pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 lb.
For the white beans  
Olive oil, extra virgin 2 Tbsp.
Serrano ham, small-dice 2/3 cup
Garlic cloves, large, sliced 5 ea.
Yellow onions, large, sliced 3 cups
Bay leaf 1 ea.
Brandy 3 Tbsp.
Cannellini beans, cooked, drained 2 15 oz. cans
Thyme leaves 2 tsp.
Flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 2 Tbsp.
Salt ¼ tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground, as needed ½ tsp.
Thyme sprigs, for garnish 16 ea.


  1. Make the sausage. Toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they emit their fragrance. Combine the cumin, fennel, and caraway seeds, chiles, paprika, 1 tablespoon of salt, and the pepper in a spice grinder; pulse to a fine grind, 45 to 60 seconds.
  2. Pound the garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt to a paste in a mortar (or mince the garlic with the salt until it turns to a paste). Combine the garlic paste with the ground spices, and oil in a small bowl and mix well. Toss the seasonings with the lamb and pork in a medium stainless bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Grind the meat through the medium plate of a meat grinder or stand mixer grinding attachment and into a large bowl or pan, passing the mixture through twice. Mix the ground meat well with your hands.
  4. Portion the sausage into 1/4-cup mounds (to make about 32) on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Shape portions into 4-1/2- by 1-inch links. Alternatively, shape them into ½-inch thick patties about 3 inches long in diameter,Press a 1-inch wide well in the center of each patty, flattening the meat in the well about 1/3 inch thick, to help the centers dook more evenly as the meat shrinks. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to grill.
  5. Make the white beans. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced Serrano ham and sauté until crispy and dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes; remove from the pan and set aside. Add the garlic, onions, and bay leaf to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until they begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cannelloni beans, thyme leaves, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Bring the beans to room temperature before serving.
  6. Grill the sausages over medium-high heat on a preheated gas or charcoal grill until medium or medium well done, 12 to 15 minutes for the links and 6 to 8 minutes for the patties. Don’t prod the meat too much as it cooks. Grill in two batches if necessary, but for optimal flavor and texture, serve one batch immediately after cooking. Spoon ½ cup of the beans onto each plate and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the Serrano ham. Top with 4 of the grilled sausage links or patties and garnish with 2 thyme sprigs.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Kevin Marquet for the American Lamb Board, as presented at the 2006 Worlds of Flavor International Conference and Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at the World Marketplace on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006.

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