I couldn’t resist making Turkish flat breads with ground meat and vegetarian fillings, after enjoying them so much at Kalkan. I also discovered a brilliant new cookery book, “Cooking New Istanbul Style” by Refika (www.refikaninmutfagi.com). Refika wonderfully experiments new recipes using Turkish ingredients, a really delightful book, where she makes wonderful versions of pides too.
You can also experiment with different vegetables and toppings on your flat bread. Dried cured meats like Turkish pastrami, juicy mushrooms, all go very well. A lovely, crowd pleasing food, Afiyet Olsun!
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time – 45 minutes (add 1 hour rest for dough if you choose to make it)
Cooking time – 20 minutes
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
Topping ingredients (for ground lamb filling):
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
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
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 topping with ground lamb:
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.
Once ready, 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.
Vegetarian topping option 1) Crushed garlic, tomato, cheese and red pepper topping:
1 medium tomato, halved and sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
1 red bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
Drizzle of olive oil
225 gr/ 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine the tomato, garlic and bell peppers in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and mix well. Place the stretched dough on a greased tray and spread the mixture on the dough. Add the mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is nicely cooked.
Vegetarian topping option -2) Spinach, garlic, red pepper flakes and mozzarella topping:
4 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
225 gr / 8 oz spinach leaves, washed
5 ml/ 1 teaspoon red pepper paste or red pepper flakes
225 gr / 8 oz shredded mozzarella
Drizzle of olive oil
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, salt, spinach leaves and red pepper flakes (or the red pepper paste, drizzle a little olive oil over. Place the stretched dough on a greased tray and spread the mixture on the dough. Add the mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is nicely cooked.
Serve pides immediately with lemon wedges and a leafy salad by the side.