My sister, Petrina, bought me a cookbook full of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African dishes called ‘Crazy Water Pickled Lemons’. A beautiful book and this recipe for Lamb Pizza with Preserved Lemons was in there. Variations of lamb pizza are common through out the Middle East. I really wanted to add pine nuts, feta and even some pomegranate seeds for a blast of colour but I stuck with the recipe, almost, and it was simple and delicious. But I did make a second pizza which went in a slightly different direction to compare and it was equally as fantastic. Will share that recipe next.
The other reason I wanted to make the two different pizzas is because this recipe called for the raw lamb mince to be put directly on the pizza and it cooks with the pizza. There are so many recipes that cook the mince first and then go on the pizza and cook a second time. I wanted to know which way was best and I have to go with pizza number one. Cooking the lamb for the second time dries it out a little too much. So it was a lamb pizza feast at our house and everyone seemed to love it although it caused a lot of confusion as it was Tuesday night. We usually have pizzas on Friday night.
You can use any pizza dough recipe as the base, or if you want to speed things up try a store bought pizza dough or pita bread. I didn’t follow the recipe for the flat bread but instead used my regular Friday night pizza dough because it is so reliably good. I use to make a Bill Granger recipe for pizza dough but then I tried this recipe here a couple of months ago and have never looked back. It is enough for about 6 pizzas which means we get leftovers.
lamb pizza with preserved lemons
(based on a recipe from ‘Crazy Water Pickled Lemons’ by Diana Henry – just slightly adapted)
1 quantity of flat bread or pizza dough
700g lean lamb mince
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground caraway
3 teaspoons harissa
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
9 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 preserved lemon, washed, flesh removed and finely sliced
a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to the highest temperature possible and if you have a pizza stone place that in the base of the oven otherwise place some baking trays in to warm up.
Mix all the ingredients for the lamb in a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge.
Saute the sliced onion and olive oil until soft and then add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and allspice, season well and cook for a few minutes. It shouldn’t be a very wet mixture.
Roll out the dough for the pizza and make indents with your fingertips. Spread the onion mixture over the base leaving a 1 cm border. Break off bits of the lamb mince and dot it all over the pizza then drizzle over a little extra olive oil.
Bake for 8 – 12 minutes until the bread and lamb is cooked. Remove from oven and sprinkle over some slithers of the sliced preserved lemon and coriander leaves. Dollop spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt over the pizza and serve with a fresh salad.