Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lahma bi Ajeen (sort of)

I say “sort of” because I’ve omitted the pine nuts and added quite a bit of cumin to the mixture along with a few other minor changes. The basic recipe comes from Beard on Bread.

I wanted to set an Eastern looking background for them so I grabbed a caftan and some earrings I’ve had for many, many years. The caftan is interesting in that it is made from very old (a few hundred years) textiles that have been cut and re-inserted into new fabric. The photograph does not show it, but along with the intricate brocade and embroidery there are tiny bits of coloured glass and mirrors affixed to the fabric. The Earrings and necklace are made from old glass and beads. They are from Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion. The person who acquired them (before myself) would tell all these fantastic stories of having travelled through some of the world’s most dangerous places without a care, yet he adamantly refused to take the El through Hyde Park in Chicago as it was too risky. Anyway, I figured this was an opportunity to share a photograph of these beautiful works of art along with a recipe.

You Will Need:

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
1 cup warm water
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 finely chopped onion
olive oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs. ground lamb
3 oz tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons cumin

Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of the water and sugar. Let proof ten minutes. Sift flour and salt and place in a large bowl. Make a well and add the yeast and oil. Add the other half a cup of water slowly until you have a soft dough. Work it until it is elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, oil the top and then cover with a damp towel for two hours or until doubled.

Make the filling by sautéing the onion until soft in olive oil. Mix the rest together.

Divide the dough into a dozen pieces and let rest ten minutes. Roll into balls and then roll flat with a pin. Top with the lamb mixture, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 475 degrees F. for about ten minutes or until lamb looks done. The dough should remain light coloured.

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