Spiced Lamb Flatbread Pizzas

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Although these are known by Armenians as missahatz, by Turks as lahmacun and by the Lebanese as lahm b’ajeen, the basic idea is the same: spread meat on bread. The best flatbread pizza I’ve ever had, second to this recipe of course, was at an Armenian bakery called Furn Ikhshanian, in Zokak el Blat, a district of Beirut. The reason for this was their paper-thin and crispy dough. Flatbread pizzas belong to the manaquiche family, and while manaquiche are considered a breakfast food, they are enjoyed throughout the day, and there is a predominant after-club culture of tucking into these after a heavy night out! They’re best when washed down with some savoury yogurt shake.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes, plus making the dough and rising time
Cooking Time: 5–7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, very finely chopped
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 400 g/14 oz finely minced/ground lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp hot chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 recipe quantity Arabic Bread dough
  • plain/all-purpose flour, for dusting 3 tbsp pine nuts

Method

  1. Put the onions and tomatoes in a bowl. Note that they must be chopped almost to a paste. Sprinkle the paste with the salt and set aside for 5 minutes, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  2. Put the well-squeezed tomatoes and onions in a bowl with the lamb, sprinkle with the cinnamon, allspice and chilli flakes and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, then mix well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F/Gas 9. Divide the bread dough into 4 balls of equal size (about 125 g/ oz each) and dust the work surface with flour. Roll out each ball to about 30 cm/12 in in diameter (the dough should be paper thin). Using your fingers, gently spread one-quarter of the meat mixture evenly and thinly across each piece of dough. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the pizzas.
  4. Transfer the pizzas to perforated round pizza crispers and bake in the oven for 5–7 minutes until the edges of the pizzas are golden and crispy. Alternatively, use baking sheets to slide the pizzas straight onto the oven shelves. Serve with Undressed Herb Salad, Harissa and Savoury Yogurt Shake, with lemon halves for squeezing.