Merguez Meatballs

Nigella Lawson's easy Merguez Meatballs couldn't be simpler to make and be on your table in under 20 minutes. This means these flavourful meatballs are a perfect midweek meal but make for a deliciously simple weekend feast too. This is bowlfood at its finest from Simply Nigella.

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This is a recipe of fabulous ease and speed, but you’d never guess it to eat it. These meatballs taste as if they had been slowly and lovingly tended, and their deeply spiced sauce tastes as if it had been cooked over days. I make no apology for the shortcuts – the meatballs are made of squeezed-out merguez sausages, and the sauce’s rich base is a jar of chargrilled peppers – because what you end up with is honest and flavourful and just so good.

Serves 2-4


500g merguez sausages
2 x 15ml tbsp regular olive oil
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 290g jar chargrilled peppers in oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 x 15ml tbsp runny honey


Squeeze the sausagemeat out of the casings and then form into small meatballs, using about 2 teaspoonfuls per ball. I get 34 out of this mixture, but I have to concentrate on not making the meatballs bigger as I go – they should each be about the size of a cherry tomato.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based saucepan or casserole (with a lid), and fry the meatballs for about 3 minutes or so, then spoon out as much excess oil as you can and discard.

Add the chopped tomatoes, then drain the jar of peppers and snip or chop them into pieces, before adding to the pan as well.

Sprinkle the spices over the contents of the pan, add the salt and – oiling the tablespoon first – the honey, then bring up to a bubble before partially covering the pan with its lid, and leaving to simmer for 10 minutes. Obviously, you can make rice or couscous to eat with this, or just get some good bread to dunk in.

Make Ahead Note: The meatballs and sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate within two hours of making. Reheat gently until piping hot, being careful not to break up the meatballs.

Freeze Note: The cooked and cooled meatballs and sauce can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge before reheating as Make Ahead note.

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