Merguez chips – sort of!

River cottage merguez chips

The latest ingredient on my freezer clear out list was minced beef, and so I decided to make home-made burgers for dinner last night – Rather than making plain ones I wanted something a bit different so I went back to an old recipe that I posted about a couple of years ago – Indian spiced beefburgers which are packed full of amazing flavours like ginger, cumin and coriander.

Rather than eating these in bread rolls, I wanted to serve them with a few chips and a big heap of salad, and remembered a recipe I’d seen in my new River Cottage veg book for merguez chips. These are oven chips rather than ones to deep fry – which means they are healthier (and much less faff!) to make. You do need to par-boil the chips though before they go into the oven…from putting in cold water and bringing to the boil they need about a minute at a full rolling boil. They then need about 45 mins in an oven at 200 degrees, depending how thickly you cut the chips.

To make these you will need the following (apart from potatoes of course!)

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 10-12 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Oil – the recipe suggests rapeseed

Now I hadn’t heard of merguez before so I looked it up before starting this post – is seems to be a spicy sausage from Morocco, usually made from lamb or beef and packed with the above spices. This is where the “sort of” comes into the title of this post – I had no fennel seeds in the cupboard (already added to the shopping list…I can’t believe there are spices which I still don’t have given the size of my spice cupboard!) and so I just decided to leave them out! I also left out the caraway seeds, again, purely because I didn’t have any in the cupboard. 

These were really nice – I could possibly have ground the seeds a bit finer but I quite liked the crunchy bits of spice on the outside. The chunky chips went really well with the burgers and a cool salad of cucumber and leaves.

My brother and dad have both also made these and the only thing we would all maybe change is the quantity of the spice mix – the recipe says that the amounts of the spices above should be used with a kilo of potatoes…we all think that this is a touch bland, and so would recommend using a bit more!

I’ll definitely try them again with the fennel to see what they taste like….but judging by the speed at which this batch disappeared I think they are also pretty good without!

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