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Lahmejun Lahmacun Lahmajoun (Armenian or Turkish pizza)

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xaipete's picture
xaipete

Lahmejun Lahmacun Lahmajoun (Armenian or Turkish pizza)

A good friend of mine sent me this recipe last weekend. She and her husband used to eat this excellent appetizer or meal at Sayat Nova in Chicago many decades ago. She was pleased to see that it is still on their menu after all those years!


To call this "pizza" really doesn't tell the story of either its base or topping. The base has crackerish qualities lacking in bread and its topping, rich only with meat, fragrant spices and herbs, and devoid of any cheese-like quality. We gobbled down these meat pides last night with astounding speed.


Yesterday, I found a video demonstrating how to make them on youtube. Before watching it you might want to mute the sound because the music, which they offer for sale, is a bit harsh for my ears.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOj7-kzADcQ&feature=fvw


The authentic choice of meat is lamb, but if you object you could substitute beef. I ground my own lamb with the grinder attachment of my KA, but mincing it with a food processor would also work nicely. Of course you can also just buy the product already ground, if you choose.


The flavor of the finished pide is greatly enhanced by a lot of fresh lemon juice.


I took a lot of pictures, but, alas, didn't have the CF card in the camera except for the last shot.


lahmajoun


LAHMEJUN

(Makes 12)

Dough:
7 g instant yeast
227 g warm water
7 g salt
7 g sugar
56 g shortening (I used Crisco, but you could probably use olive oil with good results)
340 g AP flour

Topping:
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground lamb
3/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or passed through a garlic press
1/4 cup tomato paste
14 oz. can pear-shaped tomatoes (you can also use peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

Lemon wedges, fresh mint, and olive oil

Mix dough ingredients together adding enough extra flour, if necessary, to make a soft pliable dough.  Knead for about 5 minutes to make it smooth and non-sticky.  Turn into greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces, each slightly under 2 oz. Shape into balls, arrange about 2” apart, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450º with rack on lowest level, and prepare topping. Drain tomatoes and finely chop the pulp.  Add pulp to remaining topping ingredients and mix with a fork until completely blended.  Divide meat mixture into 12 portions of about 1/3 cup each.

Take 2 pieces of dough and roll each to a 7 to 8” circle (dough will be very thin).  Place them slightly apart on ungreased lipped baking sheet lined with either parchment or a silicon baking pad.  Using a fork, spread meat mixture evenly to edges of dough.  

Bake one sheet at a time at 450˚ for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom but still capable of being folded. Remove and cool on racks. Repeat until all are baked.

Serve with lemon wedges.  Armenians put pickles or salad on top, and fold in half to eat.  


Store in sets of 2, with meat surfaces together (I put waxed paper between.)  Wrap well, and refrigerate or freeze.

To reheat:  Thaw, if frozen.  Leave in sets of 2.  Bake at 450˚ for 5 to 7 minutes until piping hot.  Separate and serve with lemon wedges.

Notes: May be top with salad dressed with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt & pepper, and lots of fresh chopped mint.


--Pamela

Comments

ques2008's picture
ques2008

hello pamela,


i used to buy these at an Arabic supermarket here in Montreal - they came in different flavors.  they were delicious, a meal in itself is what I remember.  but making them at home must be a lot better.  looking good.  i love the the fact there's a lot of lemon in the recipe!


would substituting the lamb with minced beef or pork make a difference.  i think it's also good to use chopped chicken cubes?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think you could probably use any meat you want, but the authentic choice is lamb. Whatever you choose, it should be minced fine enough to cook in 10-12 minutes or the bread will be overdone and won't pass the fold test.


I do see they are very popular in Montreal.


http://www.midnightpoutine.ca/food/2007/09/armenian_pizza_at_arouch/


They were very easy to make at home.


--Pamela

ques2008's picture
ques2008

i'll check out that link, thanks.  i kinda chuckled when i saw "midnight poutine", because poutine is Quebec's national pride.  if you every find yourself in montreal, drop by this humongous supermarket called Adonis.  You could spend hours in there - that's where i used to buy those Armenian flatbreads.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

If ever I'm in Quebec, I'll be sure to check out Adonis. Thanks for the lead.


--Pamela

AndreiSmirnoff's picture
AndreiSmirnoff

Haven't tried Lahmacun in Montral, but found a great place in Vancouver, BC - http://lamajoun.com. I never ever tried anyhting better than that, they also offer vegetarian version - fantastic!!!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Pamela, This recipe looks fabulous! I will have to keep from putting some mashed potatoes on top..it is so similar to the shepherd pies we have...lol   I can't tell you how much I love lamb..mom was always making a lovely roast lamb of leg!  I have never had one of these type of pizza's...it's definately a keeper recipe on my to do list!  Thanks, for the nice recipe write up and photos! 


Sylvia 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It's pretty fast to make. Try it some day when you need to whip out a dinner by 5:30 PM and notice that it's already 3 PM. Most of the work is passive.


--Pamela

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Dinner here is usually between 4 and 4:30PM...and a lot of times it's past 3 when I start getting it together...so I love these type of meals where most of the work is done ahead of time!


Sylvia

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Back in the UK where I live, there's a local sandwich/flatbread place that made this (although they didn't call it lahmacun/lahmajoun/lamejun) - but they stopped making it a few months ago when they changed owners. 


Now I can use this recipe. Cool!! Thanks!


FP


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It appears to go under a variety of names. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


--Pamela

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Pamela. 


As I'm sure you are aware, Fresno has a large, old Armenian community, and I grew up on lamajun. The only times I've made them myself was when we lived somewhere with no Armenian bakeries (Albuquerque, Dallas). When I was in Boston, our usual route from Newton to Cambridge went through Watertown, which had a large Armenian community, and right past the best Armenian bakery. It was a regular stop.


Once you are making lamajun, you might as well make a few dozen. They do freeze well - flat with some sort of non-stick paper in between. You re-heat them in pairs, with the meat sides together. (375F for 5 minutes. Turn  the pair(s) over and heat for another 5 minutes. If not hot, give them a couple more minutes in the oven.)


David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I didn't know that Fresno had a large Armenian community. That's something that Santa Rosa certainly doesn't offer.


That's good advice about making a few dozen of them at a time. They were very easy to complete. My only fear is that they might not last in the freezer for very long owing to their enticing aroma smellable even when frozen and their ability to be unthawed quickly.


--Pamela

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

...western civilization gives very little creedence to eastern civilization for their inventions and innovations that's been adopted by western civilization: pizzas, parachutes and coffee.  My pizza book cites the middle eastern countries as the actual origins of flatbread that's been layered with meat, cheeses and veggies to be consumed as either a snack or an appetizer.  Just an fyi.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Yes, I'm sure that's true: 'pizza' probably is of middle eastern origin. Isn't it remarkable how un-American/Italian Amemian pizza is? No cheese, no pepperoni, no sauce for a base ...?


--Pamela

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

Huh?  What?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Hi. I'm not sure what you are asking. --Pamela

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

I just thought I'd post a neutral comment, an observation.  That's all.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I understand. I didn't mean un-American in a poltical sense. I just meant that Armenian pizza wasn't anything like American or Italian pizza. That's all.


--Pamela

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Pamela... I will have to stop reading your posts..... now I am not sure if I should make the chard pie or this!  or both!!!! :-)


 


can you tell me if this is similar to what back in Brazil they serve in Middle Eastern restaurants as "esfiha"?


 


I am absolutely addicted to those, and of course - here they do not exist

xaipete's picture
xaipete

This was my first experience with such a pizza. All I know is that they were addictive and delicious. The Lahmejun Pizza and the Chard Saffron tart are both easy recipes; if I were you, I'd make both, but not on the same night.


--Pamela