World Cup Party: Viva Algeria!
We’re watching the World Cup with an eye to food (of course). Here’s a kicking dish from a nation whose game is on today.
Photo credit: Food52; Illustration by Jen Fox
Despite the name of the below recipe, Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs, merguez (a type of spicy sausage) is actually popular throughout North Africa, including Algeria.
Of course it is. It’s cumin- and chili-spiked ground lamb (or sometimes beef), served grilled either by itself or with a filling accompaniment such as couscous. It’s earthy, it’s aggressive, and—like all World Cup food should—it goes well with an ice-cold brew (or two).
For today’s Algeria vs. Russia game, find some—it’s easy to get a hold of these days—slice it, and throw it into the mix with tomatoes and onion and garlic and eggs until it becomes a warm, meaty, spicy mess. Transport said mess from pan to mouth on a nub of crusty bread. And then scream and shout and fist-pump until Algeria wins.
Or just grill the sausage, slice it, and eat the coins like chips. But still scream and shout and fist-pump. That is not optional.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 lb. merguez sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 Tbsp. ras el hanout
1 tsp. Spanish sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 15-oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes
8 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
2 Tbsp. harissa
Warm crusty bread, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Toss in the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the merguez and sauté until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the ras el hanout, Spanish smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine and cook for a minute to lightly toast the spices. Add the tomatoes. Turn up the heat to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
Crack the eggs over the mixture, cover and cook until the whites set, but the yolks are still soft.
Divide the eggs and ragout among four warm bowls using a large spoon. Top with a sprinkling of cilantro and a teaspoon of harissa.
Serve immediately with crusty bread.