Lamb Merguez Pizza


4 dough balls
(4 10-inch pizzas)

Marinated American lamb chops with rosemary & garlic on a plate


Pizza Dough:

  • 625 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting (optional: combine 1/2 bread flour, 1/2 tip 00 flour)
  • 30 milliliters extra virgin olive oil
  • 45 grams sourdough leaven (optional)
  • 5 grams dry active yeast
  • 5 grams kosher salt 

Lamb Merguez Spice Mix:

  • 60 grams chili powder
  • 45 grams salt, fine
  • 10 grams cayenne
  • 10 grams cumin, ground
  • 10 grams anise seeds, ground
  • 6 grams black pepper, ground
  • 5 grams sweet paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Lamb Merguez:

  • 2 pounds American Lamb, ground
  • 3 tablespoons Lamb Merguez Spice Mix (see above) 

Pizza Sauce:

  • 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram, dried, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon scant salt
  • 1 teaspoon scant sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

Pizza Toppings:

  • Medium cornmeal for dusting, as needed
  • 8 tablespoons black olives tapenade
  • 3 ounces Pizza Sauce (see above)
  • 1-1/2 cups Lamb Merguez (see above
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly and caramelized in extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, fresh, drained on cheesecloth for 24 hours in the refrigerator (optional but will produce a better pizza)
  • 2 cups pecorino cheese, grated finely, light and fluffy, not packed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed


In a mixing bowl, add 1-3/4 cups lukewarm water; sprinkle yeast over water and let dissolve, about 2 minutes.  Using hands, add flour, oil, sourdough leaven (optional) and salt; mix well until flour is incorporated and dough forms, about 5 minutes. 

Lightly dust a work surface with flour.  Turn dough onto surface and knead lightly until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes; cut into 4 equal pieces, about 8 ounces each.  Wrap dough pieces individually in plastic wrap; refrigerate several hours or overnight.  (You can skip this, rise and use dough right away; however, the cool, slow rise provides a better texture and flavor.) 

Remove dough from refrigerator, unwrap, flour lightly, and cover with a towel about 45 minutes before baking.  Each dough ball with make a 10-inch diameter pizza. 

For the Lamb Merguez Spice Mix:  In a bowl, mix chili powder, salt, cayenne, cumin, anise, pepper and paprika, keeping dry; mix together with garlic and oil.  Refrigerate overnight. 

For the Pizza Sauce:  In a bowl, combine tomatoes, oil, marjoram, oregano, salt, sugar and garlic powder; mix into a relatively smooth sauce.  (You can do this in a food processor on pulse, do not puree completely.) 

Preheat a baking stone at 500°F for 20 minutes.  Shape an 8-ounce dough ball into a 10-inch pizza round.  Dust a pizza peel or back of sheet pan with cornmeal; place shaped dough on top.  Shake peel or pan to loosen dough, making sure it slides easily.  If needed, add more cornmeal under the dough.

Spread 2 tablespoons tapenade across dough; add 3 ounces pizza sauce.  Distribute 1-1/2 cups lamb Merguez evenly, and 3 tablespoons caramelized onions.  Finish with 3/4 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Pecorino. 

Slide pizza onto baking stone; bake 4 to 8 minutes.  When pizza is done, slide the peel under to remove, place on cutting board and cut into wedges.


Chef’s Notes: 

  •  All components of the recipe are best prepared a day ahead of time.
  • The pizza dough tastes best prepared a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.
  • The Lamb Merguez is best prepared a day ahead and refrigerated overnight to season the lamb.
  • The recipe will make more than you will need for the pizza; uncooked meat can be frozen and used at a later time.
  • The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before using.
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