Quick-cooking ground lamb and hot pepper paste top this savory Middle Eastern flatbread.
MAKES four 9-inch flatbreads, serving 4 to 6
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Lahmacun is a meat pie traditionally found in Armenian and Turkish cuisines; it makes a unique appetizer when served with a dollop of Greek yogurt, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs. The base is very thin and delightfully doughy, with a crisp, spottily charred edge; the topping features ground lamb, warm spices, hot pepper paste, and aromatics. To achieve the perfect harmony of doughy middle and crisp edges while simultaneously cooking the meat topping, we tested several cooking methods, including cooking on the stove in a cast-iron skillet, baking in a hot oven on a baking stone, and simply baking on sheets in a moderate oven. The last method proved best: Baked this way, the flatbreads remained soft while the lamb cooked most of the way through. To crisp the edges and finish cooking the topping, we ran the flatbreads under the broiler. It is important to use ice water in the dough to prevent it from overheating in the food processor. We recommend King Arthur brand bread flour. You can find Turkish hot pepper paste in the international foods section of your supermarket or at Middle Eastern markets; if you can’t, increase the tomato paste to 3 tablespoons, the smoked hot paprika to 1 teaspoon, and the salt in the topping to ¾ teaspoon. If you cannot fit two flatbreads on a single baking sheet, bake and broil the flatbreads in batches.
1¾ cups (9⅔ ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
¾ cup ice water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Turkish hot pepper paste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ teaspoon smoked hot paprika
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
⅔ cup coarsely chopped onion
4 ounces ground lamb
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1. FOR THE DOUGH Pulse flour, sugar, and yeast in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. With processor running, slowly add ice water and process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
3. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide into quarters, and cover loosely with greased plastic. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that top is smooth. Space balls 3 inches apart, cover loosely with greased plastic, and let rest for 1 hour.
4. FOR THE TOPPING Process pepper paste, tomato paste, garlic, paprika, allspice, and salt in clean, dry workbowl until well combined, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add bell pepper and onion and pulse until finely ground, about 10 pulses. Add lamb and parsley and pulse until well combined, about 8 pulses.
5. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets. Generously coat 1 dough ball with flour and place on well-floured counter. Press and roll into 9-inch round. Arrange round on prepared sheet, with edges fitted snugly into 1 corner of sheet, and reshape as needed. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 10 to 20 minutes before trying to stretch it again.) Repeat with remaining dough balls, arranging 2 rounds on each sheet in opposite corners.
6. Using back of spoon, spread one-quarter of topping in thin layer on surface of each dough round, leaving ¼-inch border around edge.
7. Bake until edges of flatbreads are set but still pale, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Remove flatbreads from oven and heat broiler.
8. Return 1 sheet to upper rack and broil until edges of flatbreads are crisp and spotty brown and filling is set, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer flatbreads to wire rack with spatula and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Repeat broiling with remaining flatbreads.