They say that a way to a man's heart is by food. The other day I made my husband's favorite childhood dish, Lahmacun. Lahmacun, also known as Turkish pizza, is a spicy Turkish and Middle Eastern dish consisting of a ground meat, vegetables, spice mixture, and spread on a very thin flatbread-like crust. Although Lahmacun may look somewhat similar to Italian pizza (and is referred to as Turkish pizza outside of Turkey), their tastes are completely different. Lahmacun is spicy; the dough is very thin; there is no cheese or sauce; and it's main ingredient is the ground meat. Lahmacun is especially famous in the Southern and Eastern parts of Turkey, as well as in Istanbul, where it's traditionally eaten with salad and lots of red hot pepper flakes. The chili flakes are optional, if you are not into spicy food. I myself have started appreciating spicy food just recently, yet enjoyed the more mellow, non-spicy Lahmacun for years.
This recipe is interesting because it is my first stab at making it, but also using a gluten-free dough. Lahmacun has a few key ingredients: ground meat, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, paprika, onion, garlic and oil. Other than those ingredients, the recipe may vary from region to region. So, let me share my in-law's recipe with you.
We'll start with the dough first. I'll be honest, I'm horrible at baking, and i'm surprise this dough came out just right! The recipe I used is from King Aurthur Flour.
What You'll Need
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour Multipurpose Flour 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast 1 cup warm water 1/3 cups olive oil (for dough) 2 tablespoons olive oil (for pan)
Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a bowl or stand-mixer. Kneed or mix the dough for about 5 minutes and let rise for two hours. Lahmacun crust is not like pizza crust where the crust almost defines the dish. We are also not achieving to get air bubbles or anything. The star of the lahmacun is the meat-mixture, not the dough. If you can manage to let the dough rise and roll a thin flat disk with your roller pin, then you've achieved your goal! While the dough is rising, let's go on with the meat mixture.
What You'll Need
1 pound ground lamb 1 red bell pepper 1 green bell pepper 2 tomatoes 1 large onion 2 teaspoons of red paprika powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste A handful of parsley 2 tablespoon of olive oil
In a food processor or blender you'll want to mix the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, paprika, cumin, pepper, salt, olive oil, and parsley. You'll want to pulse until the consistency of the mixture is between a paste and sauce. Transfer your mixture to a large mixing bowl and add in the ground lamb. You'll want to mix everything together.
When your dough has risen, start with forming little balls out of it (or big, it all depends on how large you want your Lahmacuns to be). Mine are a little bigger than a Tennis ball. Cover the balls so they don't dry out. Flour your work surface, take your roller pin and roll out your balls. You want your dough to be very thin, about two millimeters.
Then, take a spoon and put about one tablespoon or more of the meat mixture and spread it on your dough. You may want to use the back of your spoon to even it out. In an ideal world, we would own a brick oven in which we would bake these, but we don't, well...at least, I don't. I have a simple large pizza pan. Pre-heat your oven 450 degrees and bake the Lahmacuns for about 10-15 minutes. If you are using a pizza stone, it will take less time.
Once it is finished baking, squeeze a bit of lemon juice, garnish with parsley and purple onion slices, and enjoy!