Thursday, April 28, 2011

Arabian Pizza

Arabesque -A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden is an absolutely gorgeous book I received as a gift from my youngest daughter a few years ago. Recipes, history, culture, and personal insight are all interwoven within its pages to create a delightful read for home cooks, like myself, who are interested in exploring the foods of these countries. Since we make homemade pizza almost every week, I was immediately intrigued by her recipe for Arabian 'Little Meat Pizzas.' I like to try different types of pizzas, and she offers several variations for these. Instead of making little ones as she suggests, I prefer to make regular-sized pizzas. I have made slight variations of this recipe several times now -and it always quickly disappears.

Last week when I made this pizza, I simply used half of the dough from a whole wheat farmhouse bread I was making (and crumbled on a bit of leftover feta we had in the fridge), but I've also made the traditional yogurt and olive oil dough very similar to the one in Arabesque for this pizza. It was good on both types of crust.

Pizza Dough

1/4 c. warm water
1 T. yeast

3 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 c. olive oil

Add frothy yeast and 1 c. warmed yogurt. Mix and knead to make a smooth dough (10 minutes or so), adding more flour or water as needed. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to raise until doubled in size. Deflate, and flatten out onto an oiled pizza sheet, or make several smaller pizzas and place on oiled baking sheets.

Arabian Pizza

1 lb. ground lamb or goat
1 onion, diced (Claudia Roden's instructions are to finely chop the onion in a food processor and then drain it of its juices. Being rather lazy, I simply diced and mixed it in, but this does result in a lot of excess moisture)
3 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, well-drained
2 T. pomegranate molasses
1/2 t. each allspice and salt
1/4 c. pine nuts or chopped slivered almonds

Spread meat mixture evenly onto pizza dough. Bake 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes (depending on size of pizzas), or until done.

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