Sunday, April 1

Lahmacun - Spicy Turkish Lamb Flatbreads

Having read Dan's blog about his recent visit to Istanbul (, I was inspired to cook these meaty spicy flat breads. I guess these are the Turkish equivalent of a pizza.......I don't know why I made that association as actually they can stand alone and deserve wider recognition. Listen up kebab shop owners, we want some of these bad boys and not the old 'sliced elephants foot' in a cheap pitta bread!

Now I like to make big flat breads so I could only cook one at a time in my oven, I guess you could make smaller versions, but I prefer to serve one person and make the rest wait in anticipation for theirs to be cooked. 

Eat them straight from the oven. Don't try and be elegant, roll them up with a salad filling like a hot kebab wrap and enjoy the warm spicy lamb fat dribbling down your chin.....pretty classy!! Makes four:

Good quality ground minced lamb - 300g
1 small onion, finely chopped
Garlic, 1 fat clove, finely chopped
Tomato paste, 1 tbsp
Ground coriander - 1 tbsp
Ground cumin - 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper or chilli powder - 1 to 2 tsp
Fresh coriander - a big bunch, leaves removed from stems, both reserved.
Beef tomato - 2, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 small red onion, finely sliced
Cucumber - 1/2, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 lemon
Strained greek yoghurt - use the 'Total' full fat brand
White bread flour - 500g
Dried yeast - 1x7g sachet
Tepid water - 365g
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

First make your bread dough. Mix the yeast, flour and 10g salt with the tepid water. Knead for a bit, cover with cling film and let it prove in a warm place until doubled in size.

Next make the lamb paste. Fry the onion and garlic gently in lots of olive oil until soft and lightly golden. Add the tomato paste, spices, finely chopped coriander stems and a good season of salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes more until the spices smell fragrant. Transfer the onion and spice mix to the bowl of a food processor with the raw lamb mince. Blitz to a smoothish paste.

Heat your oven to its hottest setting and place a large heavy baking tray upside down on the shelf to get really hot. Knock back your bread dough and divide into 4. Roll 1 piece at a time into a large flat bread about the size of a dinner plate. Place on a silicone baking mat and then spread 1/4 of the meat mixture on top - I use the back of a rubber spatula. Drizzle with olive oil then holding the edges of the baking mat, dump the whole lot on the hot baking tray and bake for 5 to 8 mins until the edges of the flat bread are golden and crisp. 

With your first hot flat bread, top with yoghurt, more olive oil, and a rough salad made from the cucumber, tomato, chopped coriander leaves and red onion dressed with lemon juice and salt. Now crack on with the other three flatbreads, as chef your should be the last one so make it a good'un!

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