Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lamb and Feta Gözleme

Photos by Steve Shanahan
Ceramics by Handmad Emporium

First published Canberra Times 9 November 2011

Compared to other varieties of food you regularly find in street markets, the longest queues of people are often lined up for Turkish Gözleme. This street food specialty is essentially a filled pocket bread, which can be adapted by changing the fillings.

Gözleme is a classic Turkish pastry prepared for breakfast and lunch or as a treat for guests. It is based on a very thin pastry called yufka, which is a basic of Turkish baking. The name derives from the Turkish word göz meaning “eye”.

I first tried Gözleme at the Subiaco Saturday markets in Perth, where the line up of people waiting to buy them snaked right through the centre of the market and out the other side. I was told this is a regular Saturday event and that people come from near and far to feast on these celebrated Gözleme.

Although it’s only 6.00am, the smell of roasting spices coming from the stall makes my stomach growl.  It appears that even at this early hour there is no shortage of willing participants to relish the combination of lamb, cumin, lemon and feta.

If you don’t have the equipment to make your own pizza, these are a great alternative and dead easy to make. They can be cooked on the hotplate of a barbeque and the burnt umami bits found on a barbeque hotplate, only add to their rustic flavour.  They should be cooked until quite crisp and dotted with burnt bits.  You can even cook them in a large frying pan.

I prefer to make my own pastry, as it only takes half an hour, but you can buy Turkish style flatbread and fold it over a couple of times to seal in the filling.  You can also omit the preserved lemon from the filling and sprinkle fresh squeezed lemon over the top of the Gözleme  when cooked.

I serve this with a tomato, garlic and red wine vinegar salsa seasoned with salt and pepper.

Photo by Steve Shanahan
Ceramics by Handmad Emporium
Quantity makes 4 large Gözlemes.

220g plain yoghurt
2 cups plain flour
a pinch of salt
olive oil

400g minced lamb
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
a pinch of ground cumin
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 chopped chilli
2 tbsp preserved lemon, sliced
50g baby spinach leaves
150g feta cheese
6 mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 mint leave, torn
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Mix the yoghurt and salt together in a large bowl, add the flour until you have a stiff dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated. You should have a slightly sticky textured dough and roll into a large ball. Transfer to an oiled bowl and leave, covered for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the lamb until browned and separated. Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, preserved lemon, chilli and tomato paste. Cook for two minutes or until dry. Remove from the heat and drain any accumulated fat.

On a floured surface, divide the dough into four balls. Roll each ball into a 30cm circle. Place a layer of the spinach over half of each circle, then sprinkle with the feta, then add the lamb mince and some torn mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper and fold over the dough to form a pocket.  Seal the edges by pressing down with a fork.

Preheat a barbecue hotplate or large frying pan. Brush each side of the Gözleme  with olive oil and cook each side until dark brown, pressing down while cooking.

For the Salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with the Gözleme. 

Photos by Steve Shanahan; Ceramics by Handmad Emporium 

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