17 June 2009


Lahmacun (pronounced "lah-ma-joon" with a hard "h") is also known as Turkish pizza. But don't be expecting lots of great tomato sauce and melty cheese. This is very different from the western pizza that we know. The only resemblance is that there is some topping cooked on top of dough.

It took me awhile to get to like lahmacun. I think things really clicked when I learned to eat it with a sprinkle of lemon juice and a sprig of fresh parsley rolled up in it. Wow. Pair all that with a cool glass of ayran (that salty yogurt drink) . . . you can see why I was craving it.

My friend came over to hang out while I was cooking. Besides whipping up a great salad, she also faithfully recorded all the ingredients for my lahmacun with amounts:

Lahmacun Topping

1 lb. ground venison (lamb would be best, but beef also works)
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 med. tomatoes, finely diced
1 med. onion, finely diced (are you getting the theme here . . .)
Parsley (I only had what was growing in my back yard--1/2 a bunch would be good), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. black pepper (ah, ah, ah-CHOO!)
2 tsp. salt
1 TBSP olive oil

Here comes the fun part . . . place all ingredients in a bowl and squish together with clean hands. The smell is incredible! Roll out your dough--any yeast dough will do--into thin circles or ovals. Spread a thin layer of topping on each piece and bake at 425-ish for 10-15 minutes, depending on how sure you need to be that the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley. Sprinkle the juice right on the lahmacun, place the parsley on top and roll it up to eat! Of course, ayran is great to drink with it, especially if you've added a lot of hot pepper.

I ended up making way too much topping, so I baked six (for the three of us) and kept the rest of refrigerated until the next day when we had a family picnic. I made the lahmacun in varying sizes over the two days, but overall it made enough to feed 15 adults (about two pieces each) and a small child. Served just by itself with salad would probably only feed 10 people.

Afiyet Olsun!
(the Turkish equivalent of Bon Appetit!)

Cook's Word: Not quite the same flavor I remember from Turkey, but delicious anyway. I think I would add more hot pepper next time to make them more spicy. Using lamb would also increas the authenticity of flavor. It sure was a fun project, though! And not nearly as hard as I though it would be.

Taste Testers: finished them all off! (so I guess they liked them)

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