When I attended Chico State College in California back in 1969, I desperately needed to refer to a hard-to-find Armenian cookbook for a Food Preparation project I was doing. Roy Callan, a fellow Armenian student, came to my rescue. His mother loaned me her cherished cookbook so that I could brush-up on how to make Lahmajoun.
It was labor-intensive, preparing the dough from scratch, chopping all of the vegetables by hand, and making enough for a class of 25, plus faculty. The accolades received, however, made it all worthwhile.
In my later years, I learned an invaluable tip from a dear, departed friend who once lived in California. “Why don’t you make lahmajoun using the short-cut method?” she asked.
Short-cut? This I wanted to hear.
She told me that the Armenian ladies she knew out West made it using flour tortillas as the base. Flour Tortillas? BRILLIANT! Just make the topping, spread it on the tortilla, then bake.
OK, it’s not exactly like the commercially prepared version, but it sure is an easy way to make it when the craving strikes!
Lahmajoun (Armenian “Pizza”) Shortcut
- 1 lb. ground beef, lamb, or combination of both.
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1 medium red pepper (finely chopped)
- 1/2 small green pepper (finely chopped)
- 1/2 bunch parsley ( washed well, finely chopped)
- 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (well-drained)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato or red pepper paste
- 1-2 Tbsp. flour
- 1½ tsp. dried mint
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 2 10-count pkgs. 8-inch flour tortillas
- To save time, process the onion, peppers, and parsley in a food processor, using the metal “S” blade. Squeeze out any excess liquid – this is VERY important! Be careful not to over-process. Vegetables should still be a bit chunky, not pureed.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients, mixing well.
- Preheat oven to 400° – 425°F.
- Thinly spread about 3 Tbsp. of meat topping on the suface of each tortilla, spreading to the edge.
- Place 2 to 3 tortillas on each baking tray. They should not overlap each other.
- Bake on the lower rack for about 5 minutes, then on the upper rack, for another 5 minutes, or until the meat topping has browned, and the edges of the tortilla are golden.
- Continue this procedure until topping and/or tortillas are all used.
- Place thin slices of sweet onion and chopped parsley in the center of the lahmajoun, fold, and eat! A squeeze of lemon gives it a nice touch, too!
- After baking and cooling, stack lahmajouns, with plastic wrap in between each one. Place in plastic freezer bags & seal tightly.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove frozen lahmajoun from the plastic wrap. Stack them in pairs on a baking sheet, meat sides facing each other. Heat for about 5-7 minutes. Turn once during reheating.