Those of you who know and love Turkish food will find this flatbread familiar. You might have even thought that it is lahmucun. It does look very like it and for good reason, it was directly inspired by it. In fact I started making lahmucun and then diverted to this. That is generally how it goes in my kitchen. 

I love lahmucun, a wonderful very thin Turkish flatbread covered with spiced meat, usually lamb, and baked until crisp. I used to live near Green Lanes in London for a few years, a 7 mile strip of street that is packed with Turkish restaurants. If you want to explore proper Turkish food culture, and you want Londons best kebabs, this is the part of London you should head to (Dalston also). Are you still here?

When I would head out to do my groceries, I would often indulge in a lahmucun. £1.30 was the princely sum for a takeaway one from one of my favourites there, Antepliler. I would stand at the till and watch while they would fill it with salad and roll it, wrapped in paper. They were divine. Manti also in a little Turkish cafe neary, those gorgeous tiny Turkish filled pasta served with yogurt. Before fermentation was a thing – what I mean is before Hackney discovered it – I found wild garlic kefir there, fermented vegetable drinks, and all sorts of other things. Treat yourself if you are in London and go explore. Make sure you pop into Yasar Halim when you do, a terrific local Turkish grocers and bakery, as well as Antepliler. 

So, yes, I should definitely share a proper lahmucun recipe with you. For now, lets start right here with this delicious twist on it. I like things to be a little different and unexpected even when they look familiar. I blister the aubergine over the gas flame on my cooker first to get that gorgeous smoke flavour that you get in moutabal / baba ghanoush. While I am doing that, I crisp the chicken skin in a dry frying pan (you can do this in the oven too). Then I combine them with red pepper, some red onion which I grated so that it would blend in gifting a little sweetness and sharpness as it did, some spice in the form of Korean chilli (gochugaru) and sumac and some fresh coriander. I finish it all of with a little extra crisp chicken skin and some fresh coriander on top. 

Why chicken skin? Well if you need to ask, I have to insist that you immediately crisp some up and taste it. It is the near perfect food. My first cookbook had a recipe for chicken skin skewers, just chicken skin cooked until crisp with some sea salt, a little five spice and chilli. With the layer of chicken fat you get a really deep rich flavour, and then the texture of the crisp skin along with the flavour of that also, combined with the smoky aubergine and other ingredients it is an absolute winner. 

You have to make this. 

Note on the recipe: this will make more dough than you need but you can use it for pizza, shape it as bread, or freeze it. It freezes particularly well rolled out and stored between greaseproof paper sheets. Stack them and wrap them in clingfilm to finish. Moisture is the enemy of all food in the freezer so make sure none can get in. 

Smoky Aubergine, Red Pepper & Chicken Skin Flatbread
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Smoky Aubergine, Red Pepper & Chicken Skin Flatbread

Ingredients

    dough
  • 450g strong flour
  • 10g dried yeast
  • 300ml just warm water
  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a generous pinch of sea salt
    aubergine, red pepper and chicken skin topping
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • half a red onion, peeled and grated or very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 tbsp Korean chilli (gochugaru)
  • chicken skin from 3 chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts (you can pull it off with your fingers)
  • fresh coriander, a handful
    garnish
  • chicken skin from 1 chicken thigh (or 1 breast - you won't regret extra chicken skin)
  • fresh coriander
  • sea salt

Instructions

Make your dough first.
  • I use my mixer with a dough hook for this but you can do it by hand also. Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the oil. Add the water a little at a time, mixing it through either by hand or with your dough hook and mixer. You may not need all the water, you may need a little more. This depends on the humidity and the flour. Every brand is different.
  • When the dough has come together to a ball knead for 10 minutes or 5 minutes if you have a mixer with a dough hook. Cover with cling film and let it rise slowly in the fridge overnight or let it rise in the warmest part of your kitchen until it has doubled in size (about 40 minutes to an hour).
  • Knock the dough back by literally knocking the wind out of it, and let it rise again for another 10 minutes at room temperature. It is now ready to use.
  • Make the topping
  • While the dough is proving, get on with the topping. Blister the aubergine over a naked gas flame. Just put it on it and turn it gently with the tongs as it blackens. When completely soft and black remove to the side and leave on a plate to cool.
  • Crisp your chicken skin, all of it, the skin for the garnish too. Season it with a little sea salt first. The easiest way to do this is to put it fat side down first on a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Once the fat has rendered, after a few minutes, turn them skin side down. I like to keep them flat so I put a sheet of greaseproof paper over the chicken skins and then put a weight on that. A couple of tins of tomatoes does the job nicely. Just make sure they are only touching the paper and not the skins. After about 10 minutes the skins will be perfect chicken crackling. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don't burn. Medium means different things with different hobs and cookers so if yours is done earlier, don't leave it on for 10.
  • Remove the skin from the aubergine and discard it. Chop the chicken skin from the topping into small-ish pieces with a knife. Combine the aubergine flesh with the skin, and the other ingredients. Chop them all together on a chopping board with a knife, or pulse them briefly with a blender. You want to retain some texture so just briefly. Season to taste with sea salt.
  • Prepare the flatbread
  • Preheat your oven to 220 deg C. You can make the lahmucun as big or as small as you like. I like to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll very flat to a thickness of about 1 mm and then spread a thin coating of the topping on top, make sure it is full covered except for a cm at the edge but don't spread it too thick. Save leftover dough in the freezer if you have any (or do something like make sweet pizzas for after with your favourite chocolate spread!).
  • Bake until crisp and brown around the edges which will take about 6-7 minutes each. Serve with some torn crisp chicken skin and torn fresh coriander on top.
  • Eat immediately. How good are they?!
  • http://eatlikeagirl.com/smoky-aubergine-red-pepper-chicken-skin-flatbread/

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