Warming up with lamb pitas

Lows dipped into the high 20s this week (only for a brief moment–highs will hit the 70s before week’s end), and at my house, low temps equal oven cooking.  Now’s the time of year to pull out all the recipes for braises, pizzas, baked pastas, roasted chickens:  everything I’ve been avoiding for the last 7 months.

I kicked off this week’s “oven rally” with a version of lahmacun, a Turkish dish of spiced ground lamb, spread over bread and baked until crisp.  The baked rounds are classic street food, easily rolled or folded and munched out of hand.  My version adds a bit of pomegranate molasses to the typical meat, tomato, onion, and spice mixture.  To save time, the mixture tops pre-baked pita bread, rather than unbaked dough.  A little plain yogurt, stirred with meyer lemon juice and za’atar (a blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and ground sumac), makes a nice dipping sauce.

Any leftover lahmacun reheat nicely in a toaster oven; cut into small wedges to make a nice nibble with drinks.

My lahmacun

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled & cut into three or four chunks
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned)
  • 2 T cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1-2 tsp fresh mint
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 T pomegranate molasses
  • 4-5 pita breads, or 8 mini pita rounds
  • Dipping sauce:  1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp lemon juice, & 1-1/2 tsp za’atar

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.  Place garlic and onion into a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.  Process in pulses stopping when the onion is coarsely chopped.  Add lemon juice and ground lamb; pulse several times.  Add remaining ingredients and continue pulsing until the mixture is evenly mixed and pasty-looking.  Spread several tablespoons of the meat mixture thinly and evenly atop each pita bread.  Arrange topped breads on  a baking sheet.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the filling is cooked through and breads are crisp.  For dipping sauce, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and za’atar in a small bowl.

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2 thoughts on “Warming up with lamb pitas

  1. It IS quite easy, thanks to the food processor. And you could probably get away with chunks of unground lamb and let the food processor take care of mincing it.

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