Lahmacun

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Lahmacun,  (Armenian: լահմաջու lahmaǰu or լահմաջո lahmaǰo; Turkish: Lahmacun, Arabic: لحم عجين‎, laḥm ʿajīnلحم بعجين‎, laḥm biʿajīn,  “meat with dough”
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Pizza …………
Is there anybody who does not like pizza ? I am sure there are a few people who don’t, but then, you can’t please everybody . 😦
I love pizza a lot, but I love pizza the way I remember having it when I was very young and I ate a slice or two almost daily. You see, when I was working in Munich for the first time, during the 1972 Olympic Games, money was tight, so cheap street food at night was the usual dinner. The new and very “IN” thing at the time and place was the new craze of pizza by the slice, sold for 1.00 DM through reach-through windows at pizzerias in  Schwabing, which was the “It” place in Munich and probably the hippest place in all of Germany during the 70’s. One slice was big enough to satisfy the hunger of a normal person, two slices if you had the munchies, which was a normal thing to have at 2.00 am after a night of dancing, drinking and a few puffs of the good stuff 🙂
Anyway, what was so great about this pizza was its absolute simplicity. Great, thin and crispy crust, a bit of cheese and a bit of tomato sauce, and if you wanted to splurge, a few slices of salami. Heaven, right there !
Not at all like the over-sauced, cheese-laden, multi-topping loaded “pies” you get served in most places nowadays.
To this day, if I order a pizza in a restaurant, I always ask for “easy on the cheese and sauce”.
When I make pizza at home, I usually prepare the “pizza” which hails from middle eastern countries as well as some countries which are situated in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. I was first introduced to these meat pies while travelling in Russia, Turkey and Israel, back in the 70’s when traveling meant an introduction to local, ethnic food on an almost daily basis, because at that time the McDonald’s and the KFC’s and such had not yet permeated every street corner around the globe and if you wanted to have reasonable priced nourishment, you had to eat what the locals ate. Good stuff, good times !
Most of these pies were made with a variation of a simple yeast dough, usually very thin, spread with meat paste, baked until crisp, topped with some kind of salad leaves and raw onions, cut into wedges and drizzled with lemon juice. The meat was usually lamb, but sometimes beef (and some mystery meats we don’t want to get into here). The only major variation I encountered was in Turkey, where sometimes the dough was much thicker and not crispy and the pie was rolled into a döner kebap-like concoction, (Döner kebap / Gyro / Shawarma) when it is served as street food and therefore rolled into a tight roll so it can be eaten without utensils.
When I prepare these “pies”, I usually don’t go to the length of making my own dough. I either buy ready made fresh pizza dough and roll it myself, or I buy pre-baked thin crust pizza. Sometimes I also use lavash, flour tortillas or naan. In my experience, all of these work fine and I love them all. Remember, the main ingredient is the meat paste, not the dough. Below, you can see three different dough’s I used. All of them are great and non of them are inferior to the others, just different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good ! 
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Lahmacun (sun dried tomato wrap-base)

Lahmacun (sun-dried tomato tortilla-base)

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Lahmacun (naan base)

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Lahmacun (pre-baked thin pizza dough-base)

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For the meat paste, use either ground lamb or ground beef. Add diced peppers, onions, tomatoes with its pulp, and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Then season with garlic paste, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, kosher salt, paprika powder and a dash of olive oil.
The paste should be fairly moist – if too dry, add more chopped tomatoes. Mix all ingredients without overworking the paste.
Spread meat paste thinly on the dough, bake at 400F until meat is cooked and dough is crisp.

To serve, top with salad and onions, drizzle with lemon juice, cut into wedges or roll into sandwich

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Brush the pie base with a good extra virgin olive oil
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For the salad topping, drizzle fresh leaves and onions with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and kosher salt
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Pre-baked pizza dough – Base
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Naan – Base  (cut into wedges or roll tight after baking for a one-handed sandwich)
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Sun-dried tomato tortilla – Base
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