Turkish Cuisine: Thin-crust Pide with Spicy Lamb Mince
Many individuals around the world would like to claim that their culture came up with the idea for pizza, first. However, any nutritional anthropologist will tell you—whether you ask or not—that quite a few societies developed the idea all on their own. Flatbread with tasty toppings isn’t new, by any stretch. But you may not be familiar with a particularly delicious cultural custom from a region of what is today Turkey.
This spot on the globe was a nexus for many revolutions—in the kitchen and on the battlefield. Such a distinction lends their traditional cuisine a unique blend of convergent influences, and we’re thrilled about that. When you read about a dish called pide, be wary. There are two distinct types of this delicious bread-with-toppings dish. The first is a hearty, rough-hewn dish, with thick bread and coarsely chopped lamb and vegetables. This is called kıymalı. The second type of pide is more delicate, suitable for a summer luncheon or light dinner party. This is called lahmacun (replace the “c” with an “h” sound), and is the focus of our recipe offering today.
250g Butcherman Lamb Mince
2 red capsicums
75g capsicum paste
7 garlic cloves
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2.5 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sea salt
225g all purpose flour, plus two tbsp for dusting board
75g corn meal or wholemeal flour
1 tbsp salt
130ml warm water
First, preheat your oven to its highest temperature. You need heat close to 300 degrees C. Whether you’re using a stone, baking tile, or a metal pan, be sure to leave it in the oven while it preheats.
In a large bowl, sift your all purpose flour and salt together. Make a central well and into this, pour your warm water. Then, bring the flour inward, progressively mixing with your hands until incorporated. Knead the dough for five minutes. Be sure to flour your breadboard or countertop, as needed. Divide the dough into four equal balls, rub the interior of your bowl with a bit of oil to prevent sticking and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover it with a cloth, and leave it to rest.
For the topping. Cut a shallow “x” in the bottom of your tomatoes. In a heat resistant bowl, pour enough boiling water to cover them completely. Then, submerge them in an ice bath. Peel the skin away at the x mark. Next, cut your peeled tomatoes in half and, using a teaspoon, scoop the seeds, musillage and internal structure, leaving you with only the flesh of the tomatoes.
Seed the capsicums and combine with the tomatoes, chilli paste, parsley, chilli flakes, pepper, salt, and garlic cloves in a food processor. Blend until you have a thick, chunky paste. Mix with your Butcherman lamb mince until all ingredients are well combined.
Returning to your dough, flour your board or counter top and flatten each ball into a 25 cm round. They should be less than 5 mm thick, and you can use a rolling pin to achieve this, if necessary. Spread your lamb mixture on each round. If you are using a metal tray, remove it from the hot oven, line it with parchment paper and generously sprinkle cornmeal on the paper. This will keep your bread from sticking as it cooks. Put the rounds on your baking surface—stone, tile, or metal—and bake until the edges are golden brown and crispy. This should take about 5 minutes.
Serve with a red onion salad, for added flair. You’ll need: ½ a red onion, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp sumac, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper to taste, and the juice of one lemon. Thinly slice the red onion and toss it in a bowl with the oil. Add the sumac, black pepper, lemon juice, and salt, tossing again. Serve atop the hot flatbreads with a dollop of plain yoghurt. This dish is simple enough for an evening in with your family, or as an elegant but light main course for an outdoor dinner party. Either way, it’s quite delicious and may become a part of your regular meal rotation.