Lahmajoon is really an Armenian pizza without cheese or tomato sauce. Growing up this was one of my favorite meals. I keep these in my own freezer for a quick snack or meal. My girlfriend and I had a long day working with clients and we stopped at the house for a quick “nosh”. I offered up the lahmajoon and the pizza idea sounded great to her. I quickly heated up one for each of us and we were on our way. My girlfriend loved the meal and was curious as to what was in it. I said “lamb” of course! Well she doesn’t eat lamb so she was surprised and slightly unnerved. What I didn’t realize was that 40% of Americans have never even tried lamb. Again this is a staple meat for my family. She survived her encounter and actually liked the lamb pizza! But for all of you who don’t eat lamb you can make this with ground beef.
I learned to make these from my grandmother. She would stack 6 together and freeze them. She would make about 50-60 so there was always food to serve. The morning started with getting the dough ready, then mid-morning we would watch her roll out the circle of dough so fast your head would spin.
When she added the whole tomatoes to the meat mixture she squeezed them by hand, no food processor. The tomatoes became part of the luscious lamb that rested on the crisp flat bread. All the ingredients came from her garden so the peppers, tomatoes, parsley and onions tasted extra special. I also have added garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat. Do not be tempted to add cheese… there is no need. I could eat lahmajoon for an appetizer, lunch or dinner. Usually I serve it with a big salad. This recipe does take some time but you can make a large batch, freeze a few… you won’t be disappointed.
• 4 ½ cups of sifted flour
• 1 ½ cups of luke warm water
• 1 package of yeast dissolved
• 1 tsp of kosher salt
• ½ tsp of sugar
• ½ cup of vegetable oil
MEAT MIXTURE INGREDIENTS:
• 1 ½ lbs of finely ground lamb
• 1 large white onion finely chopped
• ½ cup chopped parsley
• 1 green pepper finely chopped
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 small can tomato paste
• 1 14oz can of whole tomatoes
• Mix dough ingredients with sufficient lukewarm water to give a consistency slightly softer than pie dough.
• Coat hands with vegetable oil and knead dough thoroughly for 12-15 minutes. (Important)
• Cover and permit dough to rise 2-3 hrs, it will double in size.
• While waiting for dough to rise, mix ingredients for meat in order given.
• After the dough has risen divide into 22-24 small egg size pieces, roll in hands and place on counter or table and cover with a dish towel. Let sit for 10 minutes.
• Roll each round dough mound approximately 6-8 inches in diameter, about the size of a pancake.
• Spread with your hands a layer of meat mixture on flattened dough.
• Place dough on a greased cookie sheet (or parchment lined sheet).
• Bake until dough is crisp on bottom and meat mixture is cooked. Serve!
• To store, stack lahmajoons between parchment or wax paper then wrap 4-6 together with foil. You can freeze for up to 2 months.
• To reheat place on a cookie sheet to warm. Enjoy!