September 14, 2023

American Lamb Merguez Bourek


Recipe by 

Chef Mica Talmor

4 to 6

American Lamb Merguez Bourek



  • 5 pounds ground American Lamb
  • 1/2 cup harissa
  • 1/4 cup preserved lemon puree
  • 1/4 cup ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt 

Tahini-Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 garlic clove, pureed
  • 2 cups yogurt, low-fat
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste 


  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound phyllo 


  • Dried mint, as needed
  • Chopped cilantro, as needed
  • Harissa, as needed


For the Merguez: In a large bowl, combine lamb, harissa, lemon puree, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cardamom, pepper and salt; mix together. Let sit overnight. 

For the Tahini-Yogurt Sauce: In a bowl, combine garlic, yogurt, tahini, salt and pepper; let stand 15 minutes to meld flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice as needed. 

For the Bourek: In a pan, melt butter; add oil. 

Brush a half-sheet pan with butter mix. On a large counter space, brush one sheet of phyllo with butter mix. Spread 4 ounces Merguez on the sheet in a thin row positioned on the long side of the sheet, a third of the way from the bottom.  Using a dowel, roll the sheet. Brush a second sheet with butter mix; using the dowel, roll it around the first roll. Squeeze the roll slightly toward the middle of the dowel. Pull the roll off the dowel and onto the sheet pan; roll to make a snail shape. Continue with the remaining dough and lamb. 

Brush top of rolls; refrigerate 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, until dough is golden brown. 

Serve with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce and garnish with mint, cilantro and/or harissa.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

American Lamb Merguez Bourek
thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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