Lahmajoun

This is not what lahmajoun is supposed to look like.  However, I never made it before and it was kind of “out there” for me to make.  A challenge.  It was pretty time consuming for me too, but managed to be worth it.  I preferred it the next day as leftovers, since all the strong flavors got a change to mix and mingle.  I served it with a cucumber yogurt concoction which I didn’t really care for.  It was strongly flavored itself… and just didn’t mix well with the lahmajoun.

(Dough)

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

(Meat Topping)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground lamb or beef
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled seeded, chopped, and drained
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses (reduce unsweetened pomegranate juice to by two-thirds)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spices (2 parts allspice, 1 part cinnamon, coriander, cloves, and cumin)
  • salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste
  • To make the dough pour 1/2 cup of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture stand about 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy

    In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the remaining 1/2 cup water, the yeast mixture, and the oil. Blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, sprinkling with just enough additional flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
    Meanwhile, prepare the meat topping. In a medium heavy skillet heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the lamb/beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste and mix well. Add the parsley, mint, and pine nuts, Pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, mixed spices, and salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Drain the onions of oil and add to the meat mixture. Knead the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Divide into 16 equal portions and set aside.
    Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and arrange the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly floured board. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
    On a lightly floured surface roll out each of the balls into a circle that is no more than 1/8″ thick. Arrange the circles slightly apart on large, lightly greased baking sheets. Top each circle with a portion of the meat mixture, spreading evenly to the edge. Bake the pies in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

    Makes 16

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad

  • 2 cups low-fat plain yogurt, drained to 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp crushed dried spearmint
  • 1/2 tsp crushed tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate to cool and let flavors combine.

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