Updated: Jan 22
Doesn't look too pretty does it? Well the old adage "that's how the sausage gets made" was not created because sausages are the most incredible thing to behold both in its making and in its final product. This sausage is something I've been longing to make for years. There's a long story behind why I haven't so I guess I'll give the cliff notes version.
As many of you, dear readers, know, I am very proud of my half Syrian heritage. My grandmother showed so much love through her food, and her cooking was renowned...dare I say, legendary. Whenever you'd visit her small 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom house in Brooklyn (which at one point 9 people lived in at one time), you'd be greeted by the aroma of coriander, allspice, garlic, and cinnamon. It felt warm, inviting, and loving. All of these memories flood my brain when I think about Syrian Lamb Sausage. My grandmother called it "Sauseju" but I'm fairly certain that's a made-up word. Commonly, this is called Sujuk in Syria, however, seeing as how I grew up calling it Sauseju, that's how it will remain in my heart and in this blog.
At the base, this is a lamb sausage with spices and pine nuts. My nerves have prevented me from taking this on for several reasons: First, I had never once in my life made sausages and after talking to many butcher friends of mine, I was rightfully intimidated. Second, there is no 1 recipe for this so every post is open to interpretation. Third, my grandmother never wrote this recipe down so I took pieces of recipes I found online, combined that with mine, my father, and my mother's memories to create what I believe is as close to my grandmother's as can be.
First thing's first, you need to get your meat prepped and your casings cleaned.
For the meat, make sure it's high quality and from a butcher you trust. Add the spices, wine, olive oil, and pine nuts (lightly toasted in butter) to the ground meat.
Next, clean you casings. This is a critical step and necessary to work with the product. Take the casing off the plastic holder (if it's on one) and place in a bowl of cold water to soak.
After, dip it in the water to allow water to run through it. This not only starts to allow the casing to become pliable but it also lubricates the inside so that when you put it on the stuffing tube you don't need olive oil.
Next, put the casing all the way on the stuffer, tie the end to ensure that the meat will be trapped safely in the casing. Next poke small holes, using a toothpick, in the top of the casing, near where you tied it off. This prevents the meat from exploding through the casing itself. Slowly stuff the sausage through until you've run out of either meat or casing. Tie the end off and lay on your cutting board.
Now, as you can see from this roll, it was not evenly thick all the way around. This was my first time, but I think I needed to hold the casing a bit more tightly around the stuffing tube to ensure that it's thickness was even. However, given that I had ample casing I was able to squish it down into the casing without harming it, giving the sausage far more even thickness.
Next, roll the sausage links
Finally, take a toothpick and poke 3-5 holes in one side of each link to allow the juices somewhere to flow and to prevent them from exploding.
Next, take a le creuset (or any good heavy duty pan), pour olive oil in the base, and turn the heat on high. I had pan fried the sausages in their linked form which worked for me but made it difficult to turn them. After about 5min of cooking, flip the sausages over and then pour in 1 cup of the beef broth in the base to keep the sausages moist and to prevent burning. After another 5min flip them again. Once the beef broth has evaporated, pour in another cup. Keep cooking until the sausages are done (they hit about 165F) and they are a beautiful dark brown color.
Once they are done, serve with a lemon wedge and lebnah for people to enjoy with these lovely links.
It may sound daunting (or maybe you're ready, willing, and able!) but trust me, it's worth jumping into this recipe. I cannot wait to make another batch, and know my grandma would enjoy watching me try to figure this out!