Mechoui, Algerian style...  Prepared in the heart of the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country...!

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Preparation of the innards

One of the delicious by-products of a mechoui (well, at least for some people...) consists of some of the various organs which can be found inside the lamb -- except the kidneys, which are always left intact, so that they can stew in their own fat for best taste.  Of course, you don't have to purchase an entire lamb in order to get these tasty morsels, but they can be special-ordered from a neighborhood butcher.


1) The lungs -- (we used to give them to the neighborhood cats) because they don't have much taste and a spongy texture.
2) The spleen -- not a very tasty item either.  
3) The bladder --That's an item which the butcher should remove along with the intestines, but if he has forgotten, do handle with utmost care when taking it out, to avoid piercing it and spreading unpleasant odors and flavors.


1) The heart
2) The liver
-- it will be used to make brochettes.  In Algeria they're called "mel'fouf", in Morocco "boul'faf".
3) The "mountain oysters" -- aka testicles (for the connoisseurs).
4) The sweetbreads  They can be cooked together with the previous item
5) The caul -- which is a very thin layer of fat lining the stomach cavity.  It looks somewhat like a piece of lace.  It will give a wonderful flavor to the liver brochettes.

The Liver

Cut up the liver in 1-inch cubes.  Also cut strips of the caul which when folded 2 or 3 times will also be 1 inch square.  Using metal skewers, start with one piece of caul, then one piece of liver, repeating the process until 6 pieces of liver have been skewered.  Grill the brochettes over hot coals until the liver is cooked but not dry.  The melting fat may flame somewhat, but if kept to a minimum, it will add flavor to the liver.  When done, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and powdered cumin. 
Another way to prepare these is to cut smaller pieces of liver and caul, and when done, place the brochette on a piece of French baguette cut horizontally in halves, season to taste, slide the skewer out, and put the other baguette half on top, for a flavorful sandwich.

The "Mountain Oysters"

Using a very sharp small knife, remove the tough outer skin first, then delicately remove the thinner second skin after making a very shallow cut.  Make sure not to cut through or damage the organ, and refrain from crass jokes if there are ladies present...
Then cut the organs in half.
Melt some unsalted butter in a frying pan until it start browning, then place the organ halves into the pan, cut side down.  Sauté for a few minutes (without turning, in order to achieve a nice brown color), then cook the other side.  Total cooking time is approximately 10 minutes, but that can be extended if desired.  The meat will not become tough or dry up, so if not sure, it's better to overcook it rather than undercook.
Season with salt and pepper midway through, and when done, sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Serve and enjoy the silky texture and mild taste.
The sweetbreads can be cooked at the same time, and in the same manner.

The Heart

This preparation is similar to what in Peru is called "Anticuchos" except that here it's made with lamb heart instead of beef.
Cut thin slices of the heart (preferably of the same thickness), thread them onto metal skewers and grill over hot coals.  Do not overcook or it will become tough.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and optionally with cumin powder.