Of late our Sunday nights have been a chance to kick back and have what I’ve termed Sund’y Night’s Simple Suppers – and my, oh my, what a world-wide culinary tour this has launched us into!
Last Sunday we chowed down on (several!) tacos each – haven’t had them in literally years, decades even! Homemade,
and yummy with spiced red kidney beans, a salsa of really ripe tomatoes, red onion and parsley topped with grated tasty cheese, shredded lettuce and a goodly dollop of yoghurt. I’m not sure how traditional these were – but they were great to eat whilst enjoying the final episode of Don’t Stop the Music on television. What a super story that was.
Hope you saw it too – the delight on those children’s faces was truly inspiring. I’m pretty partial to watching lots of food-related TV programs as you can imagine – and am sure I’m not alone.
But I do avoid certain presenters – there are some I just can’t bear to watch, whilst others whose natural infectious enthusiasm for food, its history and origin of recipes, the stories behind the people who grow, harvest, cook the food in often very simple, even primitive kitchen set ups are more to my taste.
A recent episode of Yotam Ottolenghi’s food program introduced me to yet another new culinary term – lahmacun.
Sounds positively sexy to me? It is in fact a Turkish or Armenian ‘pizza’ with a difference. Pronounced LA-ha-MAchewn it is made with a spicy lamb or beef topping on a really thin, crispy dough base. Unlike the pizzas we’re more familiar with, it has no cheese and traditionally is eaten rolled up. Yotam had access to a super-hot wood fired oven which would impart that unique, smokey flavour, but I simply crank my oven to 220C fan forced to produce a good crispy base.
I have adapted Yotam’s recipe, tweaking it to my taste for extra spice, and I made the pizza dough using mostly wholemeal flour. Any recipe that involves sumac, pomegranate molasses and cinnamon is a recipe that will fly straight into my repertoire as these are all flavours that I love. Traditionally a combination of fresh parsley, tomato slices and a squeeze of
lemon juice are used on top of the hot ‘pizza’ and then its rolled up – perfect for party food – or indeed another TV dinner on the couch.
So perhaps over the social months of the festive season you might find an opportunity to cook lahmacun for a crowd of family and friends and start a new ritual for Sundy night suppers? It’s a fun dish because you could encourage people to assemble their own, and add their preferred salad toppings. If appropriate you could also divide the meat topping in two – with a less spicy version offered to the children?
Once cooked, slide the pizza onto a serving plate and drizzle the EVVOSambal Oelek mixture over the lot. The salad topping is then added as per your preference – and eat immediately whilst deliciously hot. Roll the lahmacun if you wish – I served ours in large wedges pizzastyle on the plate – but it’s a must to eat lahmacun without cutlery!