Do you have a pack of flatbreads lying around? ‘Cos this little dish is a doozy.
It’s based on the flavours of lahmacun topping (a flat spiced pizza that is very popular in Turkey) but it has more depth than that, due to the wonderful texture it creates with the various layers along with the garlicky yogurt sauce on top.
This recipe was an end of the day – home from work – can’t find the energy to do something complicated – kind of meal. We were truly surprised at how good it was and I feel it just has to be shared, because no matter where you are in the world reading this, the ingredients are easy to come by and it can be whipped up in no time with minimum effort and maximum effect.
Firstly, about these flatbreads. If you live in Turkey, then I recommend a pack of the lavaş that are sold in Bim. They have a great texture and keep for ages. In other parts of the world, you can buy flour tortillas or mountain roll ups or whatever brand you fancy. These are around 23cm or 9″ in diameter.
So, the next thing is the sauce. I happened to have made lahmacun the day before and had extra sauce prepared. The lahmacun meat sauce recipe below is uncomplicated and very tasty. You could also use a basic bolognese recipe if you wished. Perhaps you have some already made up ? Perfect for this totally lazy meal.
As with many meat dishes, if you let them sit, the flavours meld together and improve. Having some of this sauce on hand is always a good thing as it really tastes wonderful later on so I generally make more than I need and freeze it or store it in the fridge a couple of days. However, I do not think that the completed lahmacun stack should sit around too long after being cooked. The lavaş bread might end up dissolving.
We used lavaş bread lightly toasted except the one on the bottom, which was not cooked first. Then the layers are created on your baking tray and the final lightly toasted lavaş bread is topped with garlic yogurt sauce. All warmed thru in the oven.
Although this dish might be mistaken for lasagne, I would recommend not adding cheese to this dish and keeping it with its basic Turkish flavours, which are indescribably tasty.
As there are only 2 of us, I used 6 lavaş breads for the recipe and half the sauce stated below. It was a generous meal but being so moreish we polished it off with absolutely no leftovers.
I hope you will have time to throw this one together. It really has a lot of great flavours and is quite a treat.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped for meat sauce
- 500g minced meat, beef or lamb or both
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp hot pepper paste or 1 tsp pul biber (red pepper flakes), optional
- 1⅔ cups water
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 lavaş flatbreads
- 1 cup yogurt whipped with a fork
- 2 crushed cloves garlic for yogurt sauce
- ¼ tsp salt
- Heat oil in frying pan and add onions and garlic and stir for 2 minutes
- Add minced meat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring well
- Add tomatoes, the tomato and pepper paste or chilli flakes, mix well
- Add the water and season with salt and pepper
- Cover and let slowly simmer for around 30 minutes
- Once it is all cooked, stir in the parsley, mix well and turn off heat
- Check the seasoning for flavour and add more if necessary
- To make the yogurt sauce, whip the yogurt with a fork, adding the salt and garlic. Leave out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature
- This filling needs to be quite liquid so add a little more water if needed to make it a little sloppy
- Begin the lavaş construction by lightly toasting 10 of the flatbreads in a non greased frying pan or on a flat toaster. Turn them over and do both sides lightly - when you see them bubbling, turn them
- The lavaş breads cook very quickly so carefully watch them and don't leave them for long,
- Grease the baking tray
- Place two uncooked lavaş breads beside each other on the tray
- Understanding that there will be 5 meat layers, dollop on some meat sauce onto the 2 breads and spread thinly right to the edges
- Place toasted lavaş on top and repeat for all 5 layers.
- The sixth lavaş bread will not have meat on it.
- Now we want to only use half the yogurt sauce, so spread ¼ cup of the sauce onto each lavaş pile
- Turn on the oven to 160C and let heat.
- At the same time, the stacks are resting, they need 10 minutes sitting before heating up
- Cook the stacks for 8 minutes at 160C and test to see they are hot enough.
- Once hot right through, remove from oven.
- Slice them into large wedges to serve on plates, we cut our stack in quarters
- Add some room temperature yogurt sauce, as if icing a cake and sprinkle on some chilli flakes if you want
- Serve with a salad if desired