Lovely Lahmacun

Do you ever go out for dinner, or brunch and taste something so delicious that you just can’t stop thinking about it?
I find this happens to me far more regularly than I care to admit, but in the case of this recipe I am happy confess all!

It was an early Sunday morning and we were venturing out for brunch with some friends… We had agreed to meet at 10am (not so early), but given that I hate being late and the sneaky idea in the back of mind that I could potentially have a cup of coffee and trial something off the menu before everyone arrived had us leaving the house much earlier… around eight in the morning to be exact!

We arrived at this gorgeous Turkish eatery and found a table tucked away in the corner. We had no sooner ordered our coffees when the rest of our crew rocked up, seemingly with the same idea (clearly we are all great thinkers here!).
So, rather than cheekily ordering something before everyone arrived, we all basically ordered something of everything and made it a relative feast for what was now our breakfast date!

Our food hit the table and the aroma’s were incredible. Spices, fresh salads, roasted and pickled veggies and the creamiest of rice puddings, topped with rose infused rhubarb filled the senses.
Now, I’ve always been envious of my non gluten intolerant friends, tucking into all the gorgeous food without any troubles, but never more than that moment (that’s probably not accurate, I’m pretty envious about food I can’t have most of the time!)
Beautifully toasted flat bread topped with a spiced lamb mince and a herbed up salad taunted me across the table, beaconing me to eat it. The slightly sweet, yet spicy and deliciously savoury scent that my mind automatically associates with Middle Eastern cuisines filled my nostrils and mind. This was the moment that I decided I had to make a gluten free version of this tauntingly tasty morsel.

Fast forward to now (I’ll spare you the arduous details of trial and error in flavourings and flat bread consistencies), I bring to you my Lovely Lahmacun! An absolute feast for the senses and one of my favourite weekend lunches.

LOVELY LAHMACUN
*Makes approx. 7 large lahmacun
Ingredients:
Flatbread:
1/2 cup milk
2 cups gluten free plain flour + 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour
2 tbsp psyllium husks
1 tsp xanthan gum (can omit – just up the psyllium husk by 2 tsp)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup boiling water
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Spiced Lamb:
500g lamb mince (you can substitute for beef, turkey or chicken)
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into quarters
3 tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Maras chilli (adjust according to personal heat preference)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp parsley
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp lemon juice

Salad:
4 tomatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into bite sized chunks
1/4 cup roughly chopped olives
1/4 – 1/2 cup Labneh/Greek Yoghurt (optional – for dolloping on the salad)

Method:
1. Throw onion, capsicum and tomatoes into a food processor and process until finely minced.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients from the Spiced Lamb ingredients list to the food processor and process until a paste comes together. Set aside and cover with cling wrap while you make the flat bread dough.
3. In a large bowl combine all ingredients from the Flatbread ingredients list and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough for one minute, or until all ingredients are well combined and a smooth dough has formed.
4. Take portions of the dough and roll out between a piece of cling wrap and a piece of baking paper. Roll the dough into large oval shapes, ensuring the dough is quite thin. One the dough is rolled into the thin oval shape, pick up the cling wrap with the dough shape on it and transfer the shape to a lined baking tray, removing the cling wrap.
5. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
6. Wash your hands well or wear gloves, then take handfuls of the spiced lamb mixture and smooth across the dough, covering the whole surface. You will need to use a bit of firm pressure to press the mixture into the dough – smooth and press, smooth and press, almost like you would a focaccia dough (the mixture will contract when cooking, so you want to create a bit of area for it to contract without it all the mixture contracting to the middle of the flatbread). Continue this process until all the dough and spiced lamb mixture is used.
7. Place the flatbreads into the oven and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 15 – 20 minutes.
8. Take the flatbreads out of the oven and set aside. Heat a large fry pan to a low medium heat and place the lahmacun into the pan (to brown the bottom), then place a lid on the fry pan (you want to keep the lamb mixture a little moist). Fry for a few minutes, or until the bottom of the lahmacun is a nice golden colour.
9. Meanwhile, combine the chopped tomato, red onion, cucumber, dill, mint, parsley and olives in a bowl.
10. Once the lahmacun are cooked and the salad is made, you are ready to serve it up. Place one lahmacun on each plate and top with some of the salad, then dollop 1/2 teaspoonfuls of labneh/Greek yoghurt over the salad topped lahmacun.
11. Try to remember to breathe as you devour this tasty little treat!

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