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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lahmacun Turkish Pizza

I can't really say that the idea fell from the sky the way I did, but it's been lingering with me for well over a month...and it's been hanging there over my brain since I thought I was getting a pizza stone for my birthday.  When I saw that a pizza stone was not part of the package I immediately decided to buy one, but was then told not to, because I may be receiving it as a gift soon.
I love when the things I imagine become reality, even if I have to wait longer than I was expecting.  It makes the anticipation more intense, leaving me time to reflect on all the uses I will be making of said thing.
In the case of a pizza stone, the idea is to recreate a brick oven using the normal oven I have in my kitchen.  It will be perfect for making naans, but that will be another day.
Lahmacuns are known in English as Turkish pizza.  It is very thin and is eaten rolled and accompanied by a fermented milk drink, which I do not have....but you might.
Adapted from A family recipe at Turkish Food & Recipes.
Yield 8 lahmacun
2 1/2 cups (320g) all purpose flour
3/4 cups (85 mL) milk
1/8 cup EVOO
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 small packet yeast (5g)
300g ground beef or lamb (I used beef)
3 cloves garlic, peeles
1/2 red bell
1/2 green bell (I used a moroccan chili instead)
1 tomato
1/2 large onion or 1 small
1/2 Tbsp salca or tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup EVOO
Handful parsley (I don't know if it is sacriledge, but I used cilantro)
Batavia or Romaine leaves
Sliced tomato
Chili oil
Red onion slices
Squeeze of lime
1.  Make the dough.  Heat the milk and sugar together for 30 seconds in the microwave.  You want the milk warm, not hot.  Add the yeast, stir, and let it do its thing for a few minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt together.
3.  Oil your hands and gently knead the milk mix into the flour mix until fully incorporated.  Add a little oil if too dry.  Knead for at least 10 minutes.  This will work the muscles (of one hand at least) and the dough will be lovely later on.  I'm incapable of doing anything constructive or precise with my left hand, so I'm actually asymmetrical if you take a good look at me.  Ok I may be able to do a few interesting things with my left hand...
4.  When you are done kneading, lightly coat your dough with some oil, then cover and put in a warm place for 2 hours, punchung down the dough after one hour.  It's pretty hot in my house right now, so my dough had no issues rising...hmm maybe because I worked it with my right hand?
5.  Make the topping.  In a food processor, blend everything except the meat.  Dip your finger in and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
6.  Mix the good stuff into the meat.  It should be between a sauce and a paste, and your hands should be nice and meaty..mmmm.
7.  Preaheat oven to 220°C.  While you're waiting for that, make ping pong sized balls with the dough and roll each ball out until very thin.  Approximately 2mm thick.
8.  Use 2 Tbsp toppin foe each lahmacun, spreading it out evenly over the dough.
9.  Place on hot pizza stone and bake for 8-10 minutes.

I served mine rolled with a squeeze of lime, some batavia, a drizzle of yogurt, tomatoes, scallions, and chili oil.
How interestingly simply delicious!  My public enjoyed these very much.
If this seems like a lot of work, it's not too bad.  Most of it is waiting time, and everything up to step 6 can be done ahead of time and stored until the wolves' stomachs start to growl.  The risen dough can be wrapped in cellophane and stored in the fridge up to 3 days, or even frozen if time is really an issue.  However, if you only have 1 pizza stone and are planning on making many lahmacuns, you will be in the kitchen the whole time.
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