THINGS I LIKE: Lahmacun: Turkish Pizza

When I was a young man working near Greenwich village in New York, I would walk around the neighborhood at lunchtime looking for something different to eat. Once, I don't remember where or what was it's name, I came across a  food shop selling  "Lahmacun" that was described as Turkish pizza. I had never heard of this before. It was a flatbread covered with ground lamb with some chopped onion, tomatoes and Eastern spices, that was baked in a hot oven and served. It was delicious!! On researching it, I found that the name comes from the Arabic word,  "lahm ala adschiin" meaning, "dough with meat" and  that it is  found in Armenia and several countries of the Middle East, each with their own version. I wanted to make it at home but didn't want to bother having to make the flatbread dough. When I found a Lahmacun recipe that I liked, I made the Turkish pizza, substituting  a flour tortilla for the traditional flatbread. While it was not traditional, it worked. Now you can buy flatbread in most supermarkets so if you wish a more traditional Lahmacun, feel free. I still prefer the simplicity and ease of tortillas which, always, are in my refrigerator. The recipe from "" with my "tweaking" follows:


1 lb. lean, ground lamb
4 Roma tomatoes, halved
4 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 C fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh mint
1/2 Tbsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
6 Tbsp tomato paste concentrate*
TT  salt, freshly ground black pepper and Cayenne pepper

Flour tortillas**

Heat oven to 500 F.

 Preheat a  skillet over medium - high heat.

Put olive oil, onion, garlic, parsley, mint and spices into a food processor and pulse until the finely chopped. Remove and set aside. Add the Roma tomatoes to the processor and process  until a thick puree is formed.

Put lamb into preheated skillet, reduce heat to medium, and add puree and tomato paste concentrate. Mix well and cook until lamb is cooked through, 10 - 15 min. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and allow to cool to room temperature.

Add vegetable/spice mixture and mix, thoroughly. (The filling, at this point, can be cooled further and then refrigerated for use at a later time.)

Spread filling onto tortillas up to the edges. Place on baking sheet and bake until done; 8 -10 minutes.

Cut into wedges and ENJOY!

* I use Amore brand concentrated tomato paste. It is available in most supermarkets.

** The number of pizzas this recipe will make will depend on the size of the flour tortilla you are using.