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Lahmajoun / S’fiha / Meat Pies

Posted By Chris On September 30, 2007 @ 8:39 pm In Arabic,Armenian,Main Dishes,Middle Eastern | 11 Comments

This evening Lisa successfully tackled an all-time favorite dish, lahmajoun (also, lahm bi ajeen, s’fiha). These little flatbread “pizzas” feature a crispy crust and ground beef mixed with tomatoes and a delicious mix of various herbs and spices. This is the first recipe we’ve made from Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, which we received as a wedding present from Megan. We served it with a cucumber and yogurt salad.

Chris says:

Wow, I can’t believe how good this turned out, especially considering you’ve never made it solo before… the dough was perfect!

Lisa says:

Neither can I — these are *so* good. The flavors in the meat are fantastic. I love that we have nine pies left to freeze, too.

Chris says:

Oops, better make that eight. Mmmm… this cucumber stuff is good.

Lisa says:

I’m not sure why they call it “salad”; it’s very similar to a cucumber yogurt soup I’ve had. So cool and refreshing!

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.

Makes approx. 2 cups


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