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A few weeks ago I was lamenting to my friend, Theresa who is a fellow food blogger (Island Vittles) that I had half a pound of ground beef in my fridge and nothing to do with it. She suggested I make lahmacun. Uh, come again? What’s a lahmacun? Well, it turns out that it’s a delicious and easy Moroccan flatbread. They’re typically made with lamb, but I had beef, so that’s what I used. I also seriously upped the amount of meat. The recipe from Saveur magazine that I adapted only used 3 oz of lamb for 4 flatbreads. However, it’s important not to overload the dough with the topping, otherwise they won’t be crispy on the bottom. I have found that 6-8 oz is the perfect amount.Image

As with most Moroccan foods, the meat (in my case, beef) is enhanced with a wonderful assortment of spices in the form of cumin, sweet paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. These, along with the onion, tomato paste and jalapeño, make one flavorful combination!

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Moroccan Flatbread

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tble extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tble tomato paste
  • 2 tble cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1⁄8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6-8 oz. lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped finely
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

Combine sugar, yeast, flour, salt and water in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Stir on low until ingredients are combined and dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes until dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm area to rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down dough, divide into 4 portions, and roll each portion into a ball. Transfer dough balls to a floured baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping: In a medium bowl, combine oil, tomato paste, cilantro, spices. Stir until well combined. Add garlic, onion, jalapeño pepper. Mix well. Add beef and stir until just combined. Set aside in the refrigerator until dough is ready.

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the bottom third of oven and heat to 475 degrees. Working with one dough ball at a time, use a rolling pin and stretching with your fingers roll dough into a 10″ disk. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Spoon one quarter of beef topping onto dough and spread evenly, using your fingers or the back  of a spoon.  Season with salt. Very carefully, holding parchment paper by its edges, transfer to pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake about 6-8 minutes until dough is brown and topping is fully cooked. Repeat with remaining dough and topping. Slice and serve with lemon slices.

Notes:

  • I usually make up several batches of the meat mixed with the spices and tomato paste to keep in the freezer. When I’m ready to make them I defrost in the refrigerator overnight and add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño. Then proceed with the recipe as normal.

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