Joanne Weir Follow @ChefJoanneWeir

Spicy Sausages with Tomatoes and Olives

Spicy Sausages with Tomatoes and Olives

This is such a great small plate! Spicy sausages are made all over the Mediterranean. The cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, and hint of orange in soutzoukakia are all evidence of the Turkish and Venetian influences on this dish. 

Makes 24 sausages to serve 6 to 8


2 leeks, white and 3 inches of green, diced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 allspice berries, or 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
One 28-ounce can chopped Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped kalamata olives
Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves


Rinse the diced leeks in a bowl of cold water and drain well. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat and cook the leeks and green onions until soft, 10 minutes.

In a bowl, soak the bread crumbs in 1/2 cup of the red wine and mix well.

Heat the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and allspice berries in a small dry frying pan over medium heat until aromatic, 2 minutes. Pulverize to a fine powder in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Transfer the leek mixture, bread mixture, and spices to a bowl. Add the lamb, garlic, orange zest, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Knead together 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

The next day, make 1 very small patty using the lamb mixture and cook in a small, lightly oiled frying pan until done. Taste it and correct with additional spices, salt, or pepper. Moisten your hands and form the sausages into flattened ovals about 2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide. Dredge the sausages lightly in flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages until golden on all sides, 10 minutes. Remove the sausages and drain. Discard any fat in the pan.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, the remaining 1/4 cup wine, the sugar, salt, and pepper and simmer 10 minutes. Add the sausages and simmer very slowly, covered, for 30 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm, garnished with olives and parsley leaves.

Note: These sausages can be made 1 day in advance and reheated before serving.