Mussels with Merguez Sausage

To give mussels steamed in white wine a North African profile, the richly seasoned lamb sausage called merguez was a main ingredient in this dish, along with unique spices like Ufra Berber chili flakes.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound merguez sausage, casing removed and sausage crumbled
4 medium shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup full-bodied white wine, such as Chardonnay
1 large tomato, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Urfa or Aleppo chile
1/4 cup chopped cilantro plus 1 teaspoon minced cilantro stems
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the merguez and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a woodenspoon, until the fat is rendered and the sausage is starting to brown, 3 minutes.

Add the shallots, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 minutes. Add the wine, tomato, lime juice, chile and cilantro stems and cook until the wine is slightly reduced, 2 minutes.

Stir in the mussels, cover and steam until the mussels open, 7 to 10 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Stir in the chopped cilantro and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.

Ladle the mussels and broth into bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Merguez sausage and Urfa chiles are available at specialty food markets and can be found on

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