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Author Archive | Ozlem Warren

Lahmacun; Turkish Pizza with Ground Lamb and Piyaz; Onion,Tomato and Parsley Salad

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato - a great snack!

Lahmacun, Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato – a great snack!

This thin, crispy Turkish pizza, Lahmacun is a very popular lunch time snack, sold in street stalls as well as in restaurants at home. We Turks also love to have it as a take away food; a wonderful, healthy alternative to fast food, the children love them too. Lemon is liberally squeezed over and then it is rolled up with sliced tomatoes, onion and parsley salad, piyaz. Flour Tortillas work very well as a mini lahmacun base if you can’t get around making your own dough.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time – 45 minutes (add 1 hour rest for dough if you choose to make it)
Cooking time – 20 minutes

Dough ingredients:

5 ml/ 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
150 ml/ 2/3 cup lukewarm water
350 gr/3 cups strong white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mild olive oil

Or
6 pieces of Flour Tortillas

Topping ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
225 gr / 8 oz ground lean lamb – or ground beef, if you prefer; you can also use half & half with ground lamb & beef-
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon

Piyaz (Sliced tomatoes, onion and parsley salad with herbs) ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground sumac – optional-
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika flakes – optional –

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F

Making the dough:

Place the sugar and the yeast in a small bowl with half the lukewarm water. Set aside for about 15 minutes until frothy.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and add the creamed yeast and the rest of the lukewarm water. Using your hand, draw in the flour and work with the mixture to dough, adding more water if necessary.

Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Drip a few drops of olive oil into the base of the bowl and roll the dough in it. This will help the dough not to dry up. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preparing the lahmacun topping:

Lightly soften the onions in the butter and olive oil. Add the chopped tomato and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add salt to taste and set aside to cool. Put the meat in a bowl and add the tomato paste, parsley, paprika flakes, lemon juice, cooked onions and tomato. Season with salt and pepper and work this mixture into a paste with your hands. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

If you are making the dough; punch down the risen dough, knead it on a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin flat round, stretching the dough with your hands as you roll. Oil the baking sheets and place the dough rounds on them and spread a thin layer of the meat mixture covering the edges too. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the meat is nicely cooked.

If you are using fresh flour tortillas as a base, spread a thin layer of the meat mixture over the Flour Tortillas and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until brown and crispy.

For the piyaz; work sumac and the salt into the onion slices with your hands really well. Combine with the chopped tomatoes, parsley and paprika flakes. Wisk together the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the piyaz. Season with salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve lahmacun immediately with the piyaz, with lemon wedges to squeeze over by the side.

Lahmacun; Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato topping; a delicious snack, popular Turkish street food

Lahmacun; Turkish thin pizza with ground meat, onion, tomato topping; a delicious snack, popular Turkish street food

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Turkish Cassoulet – Sausage and White Bean Stew – Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye

This delicious traditional stew is very popular at Turkish homes, and as well as in our traditional restaurants, lokantas. It is lovely when cooked with Pastirma, Turkish Pastrami, dried cured beef with a special spicy coating too. This is the Turkish version of the French Cassoulet, the sausage, meat and white beans stew, though much lighter and easier to prepare. You can replace the sausage here with any other sausage (chorizo works well) or meat of your choice. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.
You can cook this stew ahead of time, even a day in advance. It freezes very well too.

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes (+ 20 minutes for partial
cooking for the dried beans)


2 cup / 340 gr Cannellini dried white beans or
Pre-cooked Cannellini beans in can, drained
1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz / 225 gr Turkish sausage, sliced in quarters
14 oz/ 400 gr Can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
6 cups / 3 pints of water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt/ Maldon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Soak the dried beans in plenty of water overnight. Next day, drain the water and boil the dried beans in fresh water for about 20 minutes, covered. Drain the water and set the partially cooked white beans aside (If you are using precooked white beans, simply drain the juice and rinse the beans under cold water.)

Sauté the onion with the olive oil until soft. Add the sausages and sauté for another minute or so. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, (and the red pepper paste if using) and mix well. Then add the white beans and water, mixing gently so that the beans won’t break. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 50 minutes, or until the beans are cooked (cooking time should be about 20 minutes if precooked beans in can are used).

Serve hot with plain rice by the side.

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Spicy Bulgur Wheat Salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir

 

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Kisir; bulgur wheat salad with tomatoes, onions, olive oil and pomegranate molasses; a delicious bowl of health

My good friend Kate came over and we made Kisir today; it was lovely to cook with a friend and share the food. Kate is such a foodie and it is amazing to see how the food connects people no matter where we come from, a universal language. We talked about how important it is for us to be able to share and have an access to the recipes from our mothers, grandmothers, and be able to pass on to friends, family and to the next generation. More than being recipes, they really reflect our heritage, culture, traditions and keep the memories alive.

So here comes kisir. Kisir is a specialty in the southeast of Turkey, from where the country’s spicier dishes hail. It is offered as a welcome to the guests in the homes of Antakya, where my roots are from, and in Gaziantep. Kisir is generally made with nar eksisi (sour pomegranate syrup) instead of lemon juice – though it is common to use lemon juice for Kisir at northwest Turkey. It can be rolled into balls and served nestling in crunchy lettuce leaves. This dish is perfect for buffets or as part of a barbecue spread. It really is a “bowl of health and goodness” with fresh vegetables, bulgur – packed with fiber and pomegranate sauce full of antioxidants.

This wonderful, refreshing can be prepared a couple of days in advance and can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. As a matter of fact, it tastes even better a day or two later it’s made! I hope you can get to try the recipe. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, a good balsamic vinegar and lemon juice also works well in this bulgur wheat salad. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi is used widely in this salad in Southern Turkish cooking; you can always make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes

2 cups coarse bulgur wheat
2 cups hot water
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
15ml/1 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika, chili flakes or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon concentrated sour pomegranate sauce
45ml/3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
Handful of finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lettuce leaves to serve

Mix the bulgur wheat, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes (or paprika or chili flakes), tomato paste, red pepper paste and the chopped onion and knead thoroughly – this will help all the flavors marry and the onion to soften-. Pour the hot water over this mixture and stir, then leave to stand for about 15 minutes. It should absorb all the water by the end of this period. The bulgur should be of a dry consistency.

Add the lemon juice and the pomegranate syrup together with the extra virgin olive oil and knead well again. Stir in the remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Serve as a salad in a bowl garnished with lettuce leaves. Alternatively, take spoonfuls of the mixture and with wet hands roll into balls the size of walnuts. Refrigerate until required.

Kisir; bulgur wheat salad with vegetables, olive oil and pomegranate molasses

Kisir; bulgur wheat salad with vegetables, olive oil and pomegranate molasses

Note: Bulgur wheat unlike cracked wheat, is a grain made from the cooked wheat berries which have the bran removed, and are then dried and pounded. There are two varieties generally available, fine and coarse. If you can get the fine bulgur wheat, use 1/2 cup water for 1 cup fine bulgur wheat.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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