Monday, January 20, 2014
GF, DF Armenian Pizza (Lahmejun)
In the Armenian tradition there is a delicious dish known as Lahmejun. It is often referred to as "Armenian Pizza" in this country, but it is actually quite different that the pizza you know and love. There is never any cheese on it, and the meat and sauce are combined into a paste and cooked on top of the bread.
In the old country, this dish would be made by creating a bread dough from scratch, but today I'll share with you a shortcut that is not only simple but gluten-free as well! GF tortillas from your local grocery serve perfectly as crust for these delicious meals. Lahmejun is not only a fast and yummy lunch or dinner food, but it actually tastes better on the second day, so it makes wonderful leftovers for protein-rich snacks! A food processor makes this recipe a snap, but you can certainly chop your veggies by hand if you prefer.
Armenian Pizza (Lahmejun)
2 packages gluten-free tortillas (12)
2 lbs ground beef
1 3/4 cups canned tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 green pepper
2 medium onions
1/2 cup fresh parsley or 1/4 cup dried parsley
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or Aleppo red pepper)
pinch of black pepper
1 - 3 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, combine green pepper (cored) and onions (peeled) and pulse until completely ground. Add two types of tomatoes, parsley, salt and spices, and pulse again to mix. Add ground beef in fist-sized clumps, and pulse gently to mix. Do not pulverize.
Spread about 1/4 cup of meat filling onto each tortilla. As you can see from my photo, the filling will shrink as it cooks, so spread the raw meat all the way to the edges of the tortilla. Grease baking sheets with coconut oil or ghee, and cook two tortillas per sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the meat has browned.
Notes: This beef filling seems simple but can be tricky to execute. If your filling seems to be separating and sitting in a pool of liquid, drain off any excess and blot your finished tortillas before baking. Too much liquid will cause the filling to "weep" while it is baking, and cause the tortillas to stick to the baking sheet. If you spread your filling too thick, it will not cook all the way through before the tortilla edges burn. Cooking these on parchment will result in a soggy crust.
To eat these, fold in half and use your hands, not a knife and fork, to eat like a large piece of pizza. The tortillas are too tough to cut easily! They make great leftovers though - the filling tastes better on the second day. Store with parchment in between each layer.