Recipe courtesy of Aarti Sequeira

Lahmajun

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When I was young, I remember driving to the next emirate (town) over and picking up a slew of savory pastries for breakfast, stuffed with cheese, sprinkled with zaatar… a few of those with some tea or coffee always felt like the weekend had begun. I didn't discover this version until I moved to Los Angeles, home to the largest Armenian population in the United States. This is often called Armenian pizza, and much like Armenians themselves, some version or other of this dish is found throughout the Middle East and even parts of Central Asia. In fact, it's said that this dish predates Italian pizza, so it might make more sense to call pizza, Italian Lahmajun! If you don't feel like making the dough from scratch, you can use pizza dough or even tortillas. It's pronounced LAHH-ma-JOON.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Dough:

Topping:

Salad:

Directions

Special equipment:
pizza stone
  1. For the dough: Mix the flour, yeast, oil, salt and sugar in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly add 1/2 cup warm water and mix to combine. Only add more water if not coming together. Mix until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and then divide into 5 balls, each weighing about 100g (3.5 ounces) each. Set on a baking sheet, spray the tops lightly with oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside while you make the topping. (Can also be refrigerated up to 24 hours.)
  2. For the topping: Add the bell pepper, onion, parsley, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, salt, allspice, cumin, Aleppo pepper and mint to a food processor and buzz until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lamb and pulse until it comes together. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. For the salad: Toss the arugula together with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and a hefty sprinkle of sumac in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
  4. When you're ready to make the lahmajun, place a pizza stone in the oven on a rack about 5 inches away from the broiler element. Heat to 500 degrees F.
  5. Place 1 dough ball on a generously floured surface and press into a 5-inch circle with your fingers. Then, using a rolling pin, roll into an even thin circle, rotating the circle often. (Circle will be 9-to-10-inches wide.)
  6. Lightly flour a pizza peel or an upside-down baking sheet. Transfer the rolled crust onto it.
  7. Place 1/3 cup of the topping in the center of the dough round. Cover with a large piece of plastic wrap and, using your fingers, spread the meat mixture over the surface of the round in a thin, even layer, leaving a very thin border. Peel away the plastic and set aside to reuse for the remaining dough and topping.
  8. Carefully shimmy the lahmajun onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until the bottom of the crust and its edges are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  9. Place a handful of the dressed arugula on the cooked lahmajun. Top with sliced radish, roll the cooked lahmajun into a log and slice into pieces. Serve immediately and go make some more!

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