There are perfect pairings – peas & carrots, chilis & mint, peanut butter & jelly, ham & everything – and then there is the combination of lamb and anchovy. There is no Smuckers jar with alternating stripes of lamb and anchovy, but rest assured, there should be. The salty depth of the anchovy combined with the gaminess of the lamb work together to create an amazingly forward and deep savoriness (see lamb neck, as an example). When I was looking for a new sausage pairing, I saw a deli of salt-cured anchovies sitting next to a plate of lamb leg and it made me think “Why is there no standard lamb-anchovy sausage?”
As I was grinding the lamb, I looked down at the bowl where the anchovies were soaking and tossed the filets into the meat grinder. To add fat to the lamb leg and anchovy, I found some lamb bacon in the back of the freezer that would keep this sausage pork-free while increasing the fat content. In a pinch, bacon would work and, if back fat or pork belly are used, toss in a little more salt, but only a little. Then for balance, I added mint.
When the sausages were encased, I roasted them in the oven. The aroma from the sausages created quite a stir in our house (I did not expect the girls, ages 3 and 4, to be interested, but the 3 year old ate the gamey/funky sausage with glee). The flavors held true to the aroma as the sausages were exceedingly savory. The lamb and anchovy in tandem combine to be an absolute powerhouse. The mint adds a touch of brightness.
As I looked at my plate, the shredded carrot hash combined with the peas directly next to the lamb & anchovy sausage, it sparked the idea of food that goes so well together. Two mixed on a plate and, directly next to them, two more commingled inside a hog casing.
Lamb & Anchovy Sausage1 pound lamb, shoulder or leg, ground 4 ounces lamb bacon, ground 4 filets from salt cured anchovies, ground 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons mint, minced 8 grams salt Pinch of black pepper
Step one: Combine all ingredients and bind using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or if looking for adventure, by hand.
Step two: Stuff into sausage casings.
Step three: Roast or grill and consume