Lahmajoons (Armenian Pizza)
Monday January 9, 2012
It was Armenian Christmas on January 6th so I have decided that I'm going on an Armenian Cooking adventure this month. I'm going to be making 4 traditional Armenian recipes that you should definitely try.
Since my mom's side of the family is Armenian, I grew up with my grandma making many delicious traditional dishes. My Grandma is very inspirational to me. She has so much vibrance, energy and youth and is more of a socialite than I am- who more often than not cant stay up past 10pm on a weekend (unless there is good food involved).
And my God, can she ever cook…
I have been dying to try and make lahmajoons (Armenian pizza) for ages- A feat that not even grandma has attempted. My family stocks our freezer with pre-made, frozen lahmajoons from Toronto so we always have a quick meal handy for those days where I have cookers-block.
Now on their own they are not the prettiest of things - but lets not be shallow and look past appearances... I promise they taste wonderful! We normally treat them like a wrap and stuff them with anything we have on hand (caramalized onions, spinach, peppers, yogurt, tomatoes etc).
Recipe: LahmajoonsMakes ~16
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water (~110 degrees F)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 lb ground beef
1 large onion (chopped)
1/2 a med green pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp fresh mint
1/4-1/2 cup parsley
1 clove garlic
1/2 small can tomato paste
1/2 can whole tomatoes
Dough: Dissolve the yeast in the water (~5 min- it will get poofy). Mix the water-yeast into the rest of the ingredients. Coat hands with oil and knead the dough for ~12 min (or if using a mixer with a bread hook knead for 8 min on low). Cover and let rise for 2-3 hours in a warm dry place (I usually stick it in the oven).
Topping: Meanwhile, prepare the meat mixture. Finely chop the onion, garlic, green pepper and herbs in a food processor (pulse mixture several times in a food processor - you don't want it to get liquidy, just choppy). Add to a large bowl with the ground meat and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix together until well incorporated. Adjust seasonings to taste and let sit in the fridge until the dough is finished rising.
Weigh out ~16 1 oz balls of dough. Make sure to keep them covered with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 min.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Work in batches to ensure the dough doesnt get soggy (I usually prepare one batch of 2-4 while one is in the oven, if you try to do too many, the dough will get too wet).
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to ~8 inch rounds- or alternatively you can roll it out on a silpat with no flour- this makes the transfering to the baking sheet much easier! Transfer to a very lightly oiled baking sheet (use as little oil as possible since the dough will shrink if you have too much - you will not need to re-oil the sheet). I use a silpat to place the dough onto the baking sheet so that it doesn't shrink when you pick it up. Place the silpat upsidedown on the sheet and peel the silpat away. Use your fingers to reshape the thin dough if needed.
Place on a baking sheet and starting in the centre, spread 2-3 tbsp of meat onto the dough leaving a small border (you can use your fingers to spread the dough evenly- it works best).
Bake for 10 min turning half way. Let cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Store between sheets of waxed paper in the freezer.