sharing recipes from one generation to the next
After receiving the book “Turkish Fire” as a birthday gift, my excitement about the flavours of Turkey was reignited. When we travelled there ten years ago I was in good health. I loved the Turkish food. I loved the way a meal was structured, the flavours and the ingredients but unfortunately for me now, I can no longer eat onions and garlic without uncomfortable repercussions. Along with bourghul, wheat breads and pastries, they are present in quantity in the Turkish daily diet and therefore in the majority of recipes published for the English speaking world.
Keen to try making Turkish lamb pizza, I referenced books about sourdough bread and Turkish food to try my hand at making sourdough spelt pide. Yoghurt is traditionally added to Turkish bread dough, sourdough and yoghurt are both fermented so it seemed a feasible transition. I simply replaced some of the water in the dough with whisked natural yoghurt.
Inspired by both Greg Malouf’s filling for Lamb and Pine Nut Borek from Turquoise and Sevtap Yuce’s Turkish Lamb Pizza topping from Turkish Fire, I made my lamb filling concentrating on robust spice for flavour. Sevtap Yuce recommends marinating the filling ingredients overnight, and I’m sure this valuable tip helped the warm spicy flavours infuse the lamb.
Taking the stuffed pide pies from the oven was a “wow” moment. They were also seriously good to eat.
My Turkish lamb stuffed pide pies may not the genuine article, but my modifications made for excellent eating in the Turkish style.
Turkish Lamb Pide Pie Filling (begin the day before)
500g good quality minced lamb
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 heaped tablespoon tomato concentrate
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leafed parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Turkish chilli flakes (pul biber)
Thoroughly combine all the ingredients by kneading together until homogeneous.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but best overnight.
Divide into 4 equal portions.
Spelt Sourdough Pide – Turkish flat bread
200g active spelt sourdough starter
325g organic white spelt flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup natural yoghurt, whisked until smooth
1/2 cup + filtered water
2 tablespoons olive oil
garnish: 1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Measure the starter, flour, and salt into a large bowl.
Whisk together the yoghurt water and oil until smooth.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to a shaggy dough, adding a little more water if necessary.
Set aside for 20 minutes.
Tip the dough onto a bench and knead until it’s smooth and pliable.
Clean the mixing bowl, brush the inside with oil, add the dough turning it once to coat, then cover tightly with plastic and set aside until double in bulk. Mine took 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Gently knock back the dough then divide into 4 equal portions.
Shape the dough into balls with a smooth surface and set aside for 10 minutes for the dough to relax.On a floured bench stretch each portion of dough into an oblong 30cm X 18cm.
Crumble a portion of meat along the centre of each dough base.
Fold the long edge of the dough over the lamb until it’s almost covered. (The gap will increase in the oven.)
Pinch the ends together to create a boat shape.
Scatter pine nuts over the lamb.
Bake the side pies for 20-25 minutes, until the lamb is cooked and the bread crisp.
Remove from the oven, brush the bread with olive oil, then allow to rest for 10 minutes for the meat juices to be reabsorbed.
To serve, cut into thick slices.
My Turkish recipe/reference books include:
*The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
*Turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf
*Turkish Fire by Sevtap Yuce