Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza). For those of you who dislike minced meat or are vegetarian, then do not bother to read on.

Lahmacun is an Arabic word, (I am assuming it means ‘minced meat with dough’). It is usually made on a very thin piece of dough with a minced meat topping and cooked in a clay or stone oven.

However I do not have a clay or stone oven. I have an electric fan oven in my small kitchen, and I often cook this dish during the week for my family after a long days work. So forgive me if I cheat on the dough.

Now if you have more time than I do, then of course make your own dough base. Which isn’t hard I know, but for a midweek family meal, I just use ready made tortilla wraps instead.

Traditionally apart form the dough base, the minced meat is placed on the dough raw. It is then cooked in the oven as individual Lahmacuns, and then served hot.

In Turkey (as with most Easten countries) there are special public clay ovens that you can take your food to be baked in.  So each Lahmacun is cooked at the same time. Failing that there are many little cafes serving only Lahmacun and Pide (No not pitta bread) another type of dough with topping. Anyway that’s altogether a different recipe which is now making me feel very hungry at the thought of eating one.

What’s really good about my Lahmacun dish (apart from the fact that it tastes great), is that it can last for ages, which means you don’t have to cook for a few days, well or at least two.

Lazy Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

You will need;

Tortilla wraps (however many your family can eat) or 
Gluten/wheat free pita breads
(for those of you who have a gluten/wheat allergy try this recipe with free from pita breads or a baked potato).
Approx. 400g of minced meat (beef or lamb of your choice)
1 large finely chopped white onion
5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic
3 colourful bell peppers, diced into small squares 
1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 400g fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato purée 
25 – 30g finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of olive oil or as much as you wish to fry your onions in
2 teaspoons of paprika 
2 teaspoons of steak seasoning
3 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon of All Purpose seasoning
1 beef stock cube or if you are using lamb mince then use lamb stock
Chilli flakes and black pepper (these can also be added to each individual plate when serving according to taste and child)
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 

For the garnish; 
2 finely chopped red onions
25 – 30g of finely chopped parsley 
1 lemon cut into wedges

Pour your olive oil into your sauce pan and start frying off your onions. When soft, add your meat, giving it a good stir and breaking it down into mince. Try not to get clumps or balls developing, so keep mashing the mince down during the cooking. Next add your garlic and all your seasoning together with the stock cube. Keep stirring well until your meat is starting to brown, then add your chopped tomatoes and a tablespoon of purée. Leave to cook on a low heat stirring regularly.

Meanwhile, get your garnish ready by chopping up your red onions and parsley and mixing both together. Place in a serving dish and put to one side. Next start to chop up your bell peppers and after about 30 minutes add them to your mince. Cook for a further 5 minutes stirring all the peppers into the rest of the ingredients. Once you are satisfied that your meat is cooked, turn off the heat and leave to rest for a few minutes, with the saucepan lid tightly on.

If you are going to serve straight away, then begin heating up your tortilla wraps. Place a tortilla on a plate and spoon your mince meat around it. Sprinkle with the garnish and squeeze a lemon wedge over the whole lot. Make sure everyone has a napkin ready, then wrap up and enjoy.

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