Lamb Pita

Turkish Spiced Lamb Pita – (Lahmacun)

In addition to making pizza on superbowl sunday, I propose that you shake things up a bit with these Spiced Lamb Pitas. This is one of my favorite recipes in our new book. I love it for many reasons, but the story behind my first bite of Lahmacun is as rich as the bread itself.

I arrived in Istanbul with my husband and two sons (9 & 11 at the time), after a long trip from Minneapolis. As we entered into the city, with the sweetest cabby in the world, and the fastest driver I have ever seen, we realized we were not in the Midwest anymore. It was a feast of the senses. To say we were overwhelmed by the beauty, smells, sounds and traffic, would have been a gross understatement. No sooner had we put our bags down in the hotel, then the concierge called the room to say I had a “friend” waiting for me in the lobby. He whispered into the phone and said “Please, be careful of people who claim to be your friend in a new city.” His way of warning me about something. I didn’t know anyone in the city, and hadn’t made plans to meet up with anyone, so I heeded his warning and sent my husband to the lobby to find out who this mysterious “friend” might be. It was indeed a friend, a dear sweet woman named Serap, who I’d met in the States. She owns a delightful Turkish restaurant called Depot 62 in Manchester, Vermont. I had told her I’d be in Istanbul, asked her for tips on where to eat, but that was all I ever expected to hear. Here she was, the loveliest surprise in the world. She was visiting her sister in istanbul, and they took the day to give us a tour of the city. They fed us the most glorious foods and she introduced me to her favorite Turkish food; Lahmacun. I will never forget that day and this flatbread is forever linked with one of my most precious memories. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This thin pita is topped with Spiced lamb, quickly baked, so it is still soft, topped with chopped onions, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then it is rolled up like a crepe. 

Lahmacun:

Makes 1 pita, but enough toppings for 4.

1/4 pound dough (master recipe dough, whole wheat dough, gluten-free pizza dough or naan dough are some of my favorites from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day to make this with)

For the Lamb topping:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (add a bit more if you want a more intense flavor)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (add a bit more if you want a more intense flavor)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 pound ground lamb

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Garnishes:

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped white onions

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (they are delicious, but I didn’t find any ripe ones to use this time of year.)

1 lemon, cut into quarters

To prepare the lamb:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onions and cook until they are soft. Add the spices and ground lamb, cook until the meat is evenly browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Stir in the tomato paste, salt and parsley, cook for another minute. Set aside to cool. Can be made ahead.

To make the pita: Preheat oven to 500°F with a Pizza Stone on the bottom rack for at least 30 minutes.

Lamb pita

Roll the dough out to 1/16-inch (see this post if you are having trouble getting the dough thin enough) round. Dust a Pizza Peel with flour and place the dough on it. Top with the lamb mixture. Bake for about 5 minutes. The crust should just be set, but still soft enough to roll.

Put 1/4 of the parsley, onions and tomatoes on the pita.

Lamb Pita

Squeeze a lemon wedge over the top.

Lamb Pita

Roll the pita up like a crepe.

Lamb Pita

I wrapped it in parchment to make it easier to eat and served it with Tzatziki (p. 209 Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day)

Pin It

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

14 thoughts on “Turkish Spiced Lamb Pita – (Lahmacun)

  1. Zoe, I just loved opening up my RSS feed and seeing “lahmacun” as the first article! I grew up in Turkey (I’m half Turkish) and one of the things I miss most is perfectly crispy lahmacun. My husband loves it too – he is Armenian (I can never make anything easy) – so I played around a little last summer to make some at home and used the dough I always have on hand from your books to make the base. I used raw lamb and pureed everything in a food processor first, which of course was a task all in itself, but it came out great. I’m so glad you enjoyed the food in Turkey! I will be there for a good chunk of the summer with my boys and am soooo looking forward to being home and eating the amazing food! I have tons of other Turkish recipes – we cook that way quite a bit at home. Let me know if you ever have a hankering for something and I’ll see if it’s in my repertoire.

  2. This has the taste buds watering just reading. Will be trying this one soon. Lamb is very readily available in Australia and teaming it with the breads in this way sounds wonderful.
    Melissa, I hope you share more Turkish recipes with us all.

  3. I met you both at the Roseville Barnes & Noble a few months back, bought a pizza book which you signed for me. I was the guy whose wife just had a baby, and I had just come from the dentist so my mouth was all numb. We have made pizza a number of times and it comes out fabulous. What I really wanted to comment on was Betsy’s Seeded Oat Bread out of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This has got to be the best bread we have ever had. The nuts, the beautiful crust it gets, and a perfect crumb to it. Toasted with some homemade strawberry jam this bread is out of this world, and would highly recommend it to anyone. It is so good, and comes out in such a consistent way every time I am thinking about entering at the State Fair. Thanks again for all the great recipes!

    Steve

      • My wife also LOVES Betsy’s Seeded Oatmean and has asked me to stop making it so often because she CANNOT stop eating it. (The same thing happened with the master white too)
        So I “stock” the Master Wheat from HBIN5 and make Betsy’s or the Master White on “special” occasions.
        I love them all and I am not home with them all day so I do not have as much time to be tempted.
        Yum!

  4. Hi~
    I have all 3 of your cookbooks and absolutely love them! I’m wondering ~ is there one of your recipes that you would suggest could be adjusted to make sub sandwiches? Maybe not crusty, but softer, like the bread served at Subway? I’d love any alterations you can suggest for different sandwish/hoagie/muffeletta breads! Thanks

  5. Do you think I could cook pita in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove instead of the oven? It takes forever to heat my stone in the oven.

  6. Thank you for your reply. I have all 3 of your books. I will look up the naan recipe and also follow the link you provided. Thank you and Zoe for the support you continually provide. Is there another book in the works?

      • That’s great. Looking forward to hearing more about it, when you can talk about it. It would be nice if it included some or all of the delicious recipes you have provided on your website. Love the website and support provided but it would be so much easier to have these recipes and tips in a book.

        I want to share this with you. I have used a cast iron griddle and a stone in my oven to bake your bread. Neither get hot enough after 30 mins. to produce a good crust. Living in the south, it is too warm to heat up the kitchen with a long preheat. I have gone back to using my thin, non-stick baking sheet with no sides. I preheat the oven for 20 minutes as you suggest. I bake my loaves on the cookie sheet and the last 10 minutes I take them off the sheet and up them directly on the oven rack. Great solution. I know you have mentioned this alternative and it works.

        Your bialy recipe is a huge hit with my family. Everything I bake out of your books is a hit. I have baked bread products for over 20 yrs. and while they were very good, what I make out of your books, wins hands down! Plus so much easier and faster.

      • Yep, there’s always some overlap between the website and the books, but it’s not a perfect match. They provide different information– in part so that people who buy our books are getting something different from what’s just out on the website for free, seems only fair.

        Sounds like a good strategy with the cookie sheet, I often do the same in summer. So glad you like the bialys!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>