Lamb Pizza

  • Active Time 55m
  • Total Time 2h 50m

Makes twelve 6-inch pizzas

Open-faced meat pies like these are popular café food in Syria, Lebanon and Israel, as well as in Turkey. The dough is a cross between that used for an Italian pizza and Turkish pide bread. You can also shape it into smaller 4-inch pies. Add the chilies if you prefer a little heat.


  • Sponge:
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
  • Dough:
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 degrees F)
  • Lamb Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground (minced) lamb
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup minced mild green chili peppers, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Olive oil for brushing on pizzas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


FOR SPONGE: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Stir in the flour and let stand in a warm place until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

FOR DOUGH: In an electric stand mixer, place the flour in the bowl and add the sponge, salt, olive oil and lukewarm water. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed to combine. Then attach the dough hook and beat on medium speed for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and pulls cleanly from the bowl sides.

To make the dough by hand, place the flour in a large bowl and add the sponge, salt, olive oil and lukewarm water. Stir until a soft dough forms, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 45-60 minutes.

FOR LAMB FILLING: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and lamb, raise the heat to high and sauté until it begins to brown, 5-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chilies (if using), allspice and cinnamon and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. The mixture should be very thick. Stir in half of the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Meanwhile, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Divide into 12 equal portions and form each portion into a ball. Place the balls on the work surface, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pine nuts in a small pan and toast in the oven until fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Let cool.

Raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees F. Roll out each ball of dough into a round 6 inches in diameter. Place the rounds spaced well apart on baking sheets. Brush lightly with olive oil and then divide the filling evenly among them, leaving a 1/2-inch border uncovered. Sprinkle evenly with the pine nuts.

Bake until the crust is golden, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the mint and serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2127

nutrition information per serving

395 calories; 15g total fat; 37mg cholesterol; 424mg sodium; 47g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 18g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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