By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Florence is in lockdown again, so we are stuck at home and, as usual, I'm imagining travel and discovering new traditional dishes from around the world. Today I tried a yummy Armenian recipe, and I’d love to share it with you.
The Arabic word lahmacun means “meat on a dough.” It is a sort of a Middle Eastern pizza made with a round, thin piece of dough with a delicious topping of spicy minced meat, tomato, mint, vegetables, and a squeeze of lemon.
Lahmacun became popular in the countries of the Ottoman Empire, and it became a traditional Armenian and Turkish dish. For this reason, lahmacun is also called Turkish pizza or Armenian pizza; but I’m Italian and, believe me, pizza is another thing! Our pizza is not so thin, and it has mozzarella on top!
Anyway, I adore lahmacun and enjoy it on my table as a delicious alternative to pizza!
For the dough:
1 tsp active dry yeast
A pinch of sugar
1 + 1/2 cups warm water
4.5 cups of all purpose flour
Oil to brush the dough
For the topping:
1/2 lb. ( 250 g) minced beef or lamb ( I don’t eat lamb, so I use beef)
1 big onion
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup fresh mint
1 medium tomato
1 tsp of chili pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp of cumin
Make the dough:
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to activate the yeast.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining water, flour, and the yeast mixture to kneed into a nice, soft dough.
Coat the dough with just a little bit of oil and cover with a damp cloth. Leave it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour to double the size.
Cut the dough into pieces, dirty your hands with flour, and roll each piece into a ball.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Make the topping:
Chop herbs and vegetables and sauté in oil until golden.
Add meat and spices and lightly sauté over a low fire.
Take each ball of dough and roll into a round, flat circle or an oval, measuring up to 1/4"
(5 mm) in height.
Place dough disks on a baking sheet and top each pizza with meat mixture.
Cook in oven until lahmacun is soft in the center and crispy at the ends.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).