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August 3, 2023

American Lamb Merguez Tostada with Black Bean Mash, Cucumber Pico Verde, Harissa Crema and Red Onion Escabeche


Recipe Provided By
Chef Brian R. Beland, CMC


American Lamb Merguez Tostada



  • 8 tostada shells
  • 1 pound ground American Lamb Merguez
  • 2 cups Black Bean Mash (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Cucumber Pico Verde (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Harissa Crema (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Red Onion Escabeche (recipe follows) 


  • 18 cilantro sprigs, 3-leaf pieces
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco (optional)
  • 8 lime wedges 

Black Bean Mash (makes about 2 cups):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 grinds fresh ground black pepper from a pepper mill
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Cucumber Pico Verde (makes about 2 cups):

  • 1 cup cucumber, seedless, small dice
  • 1/2 cup tomatillos, small dice
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, stemmed, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Harissa Crema (makes about 1 cup):

  • 1 cup crema or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 pinch salt 

Red Onion Escabeche (makes about 2 cups):

  • 1 pound red onions, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 serrano chili, split, seeded
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, whole
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


For the Tostada: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook merguez; crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. On a tostada shell, spread a layer of Black Bean Mash topped with a layer of cooked Merguez. Sprinkle Cucumber Pico Verde, Harissa Crema, Red Onion Escabeche, cilantro and queso across the top. Extra garnishes can be served on the side, along with lime wedges. 

For the Black Bean Mash: In a pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add jalapeño, onion and garlic; sweat until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add beans, water, salt, cumin and pepper; bring to a simmer, cook until half of water is evaporated. Using a potato masher, crush beans into a coarse paste. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice to personal preference. 

For the Cucumber Pico Verde: In a bowl, combine chili, garlic, cucumber, tomatillo, onion, cilantro, lime juice, oil, mint and salt; mix well. Transfer to a container; refrigerate. 

For the Harissa Crema: In a bowl, combine crema, harissa, lime juice, lime zest and salt; mix well. Transfer to a container; refrigerate. 

For the Red Onion Escabeche: Place onion, garlic, bay leaves and chili in a non-reactive container. In a dry pan, toast coriander, pepper and cumin about 15 seconds until aromatic. Add to onion mixture. In a pan, add vinegar, salt and sugar; bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat; pour over onion mixture. Wrap onion mixture tightly; allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

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

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


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