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Friday, May 15, 2009

Moroccan lamb pizza

Pizza. The simplest and quickest way to turn dough into a meal.

I love its appeal from kids through to teens through to hungry adults. It's more than just party food, or home delivery for a night in front of the telly. Once you get in the kitchen and start making your own version, good pizza knows no bounds.

Homemade pizza is the perfect menu for a casual weekend meal with friends. Prep the ingredients in advance (I often do much of the chopping the night before), and by the time the guests have gotten settled with drinks, your first pizza is ready, piping hot from the oven.

I've listed three pizza variations below. Moroccan lamb has consistently been the crowd favourite, although the barbecue chicken and the pear, blue cheese and walnut versions aren't too far behind. Other favourites include roasted pumpkin, walnut and rocket; roasted vegetables and fetta; and the sacrilegous but tasty old faithful, ham and pineapple :)

Moroccan lamb pizza

50g pine nuts
1 Tbsp olive oil
200g lean lamb mince
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and diced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2Tbsp pizza sauce (either homemade* or bought)

1 large pizza base
(pizza dough recipe at end of post)

2 Tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup natural yoghurt

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 200C. If you don't have a pizza stone, simply make your pizza on a pizza tray.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frypan over moderate heat and set aside to cool.

Heat the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and lamb mince, breaking up the mince until it is cooked all the way through. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.

Add the pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, ground coriander, allspice, sugar and salt and stir through. Taste and adjust spices and seasonings according to preference.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Spread the pizza base with a thin layer of pizza sauce. Add a generous layer of the lamb mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts and bake at 200C for 15-20 min.

Serve the pizza with a generous sprinkle of parsley alongside a small bowl of natural yoghurt for guests to help themselves.

* To make your own pizza sauce, fry 2 sliced garlic cloves in olive oil until a pale golden colour, then add 2 tins Italian whole tomatoes. Cook for about 5 min, seasoning with salt and pepper, and then use a stab mixer to blitz the mixture to a smooth pulp. Simmer for another 5min until the mixture thickens.

Barbecue chicken pizza

This one's an easy cheat's version.

Pan-fry 150g oiled and sliced chicken thigh fillets until cooked through.

Squirt your favourite barbecue sauce directly on the base and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a sparse layer of grated mozzarella cheese, then top with your slices of chicken and your choice of vegetables - I've used red capsicum, Spanish onion, mushroom and shallots.

Sprinkle on more mozzarella and bake at 200C for about 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Blue cheese, pear and walnut pizza

Another no-brainer.

Core and slice 2-3 pears. If you prefer the pears soft rather than a touch crunchy, bake the sliced pears on a foil-lined baking tray at 200C for 10-15 min or until just cooked.

Lightly brush your pizza dough base with extra virgin olive oil, or use an olive oil spray if you're feeling particularly virtuous (I find this method also remove any danger of over-saturating your pizza with oil).

Place pear segments evenly around the pizza base and daub generously with your favourite blue cheese. I like gorgonzola for pizza as it has a pleasant creamy texture, but I've also used Stilton and Roaring Forties blue which gives extra bite.

Scatter with broken walnut pieces and bake in a 200C oven for about 10-18 min or until cooked.

Serve with a generous layer of rocket.

Insalata caprese - an easy salad of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella
dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pizza dough
makes 3-4 medium or 2-3 large pizza bases

500g strong white bread '00' type flour
(or substitute with 500g plain flour plus 1 1/2 tsp bread improver)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
325ml lukewarm water

Combine the yeast, sugar, olive oil and water in a small bowl and set aside until the mixture starts to foam (about 10min).

If you have an electric mixer with dough hook attachment, sift the flour and salt into the mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture, and then let the dough hooks knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

If you must/prefer to make by hand, sift the flour and salt into a very large bowl (or use a clean bench stop). Make a well in the middle and add the yeast liquid, using either a fork or wooden spoon to mix the two together until a sticky dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for three minutes or until the dough is smooth. To knead, use the heel of your hand to push the dough up and away from you. Fold the dough in half, rotate 90 degrees and use the heel of your hand again. Repeat until the dough is smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled boil, turning it about in the bowl so the dough is covered lightly all over with oil (this will stop it drying out). Cover with plastic film or a tea towel and leave in a warm spot to prove for about an hour or until the dough has doubled. The temperature should ideally be about 30C. If it is a particularly cold day, you can help the dough by placing the bowl in a sink filled with 5cm of lukewarm (not hot!) water.

Transfer the dough back to the lightly floured surface and knead lightly to knock some of the air out. At this stage you can either wrap the dough in plastic film an store in the fridge or freezer until required, or divide into 3-4 balls for immediate use.

Roll out the pizza dough bases about 20 minutes before they are required as it is best to let them rest before cooking. If you want to roll them out in advance, stack them in between oiled and floured sheets of aluminium foil.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Pizza--Australian Heritage Hotel, The Rocks - Nov08
and Apr08
Pizza--Big John's Pizza Restaurant, Sans Souci
Pizza--La Disfida, Haberfield
Pizza--Macchiato, Sydney
Pizza--Napoli in Bocca, Haberfield
Pizza--Wedgetail Pizza, Newtown
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/15/2009 12:30:00 am


  • At 5/15/2009 1:03 am, Anonymous Howard said…

    The lamb one looks awesome.

    I love making my own pizza's but haven't got around to making my own dough. So it's been either leb bread or turkish/afghan bread. I might need to rectify that as the dough doesn't look too hard to make and looks quite rewarding!

  • At 5/15/2009 4:36 am, Anonymous Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) said…

    The lamb pizza sounds similar to something I've done. The lamb is seasoned similarly with cinnamon, onion, garlic. Instead of pomegranate molasses, I mix in dried cranberries. The other difference is I spread hummus on the dough instead of pizza sauce. Then top the whole thing with fresh coriander leaves, feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon. It was one of the best pizzas I've ever had, so I imagine yours was great too since the flavors are similar.

  • At 5/15/2009 6:32 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    I love the combination of flavours for the Moroccan lamb mince. Is this recipe borrowed from some traditional Moroccan recipe? If so, what is that dish?

  • At 5/15/2009 1:03 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    Pine nuts is a nice addition, but it's the pear and blue cheese that really has my heart.

  • At 5/15/2009 3:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Helen! Yum! I love morroccan lamb, and it's never occurred to me to do it at home. I must do it!

  • At 5/15/2009 10:44 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    These pizzas look great. Perhaps the addition of some Ras el Hanout would further enhance the Moroccan lamb pizza. Do you use a pizza stone for baking?

  • At 5/16/2009 3:59 am, Anonymous bobatea said…

    ITs an amazing post, actually i just love to eat pizza, no interest in cooking pizza. :(

  • At 5/16/2009 12:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woooww awesome pizza party ^^! I love it when pizza have special sauces like yogurts etc cos they look so sirly and purdy and taste even more amazing :)

  • At 5/16/2009 2:42 pm, Anonymous Yas said…

    Ohhh these pizzas look very yummy!
    I completely forgot where i've had it, but I've had this gorgonzola, figs and pancetta pizza. sounds nothing new but this one had drizzle of honey on it.

    Hmmm I've got to try making my own pizza dough!

  • At 5/17/2009 3:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Howard - The dough isn't a huge amount of work, and the reward of soft dough is infinitely worth it. The lamb one is always a hit. Am sure you'll love it too :)

    Hi Brittany - Dried cranberries sounds interesting, and I like the idea of spreading hummus too. Oh and feta is also good. Mmm... might have to make two versions of lamb pizza next time!

    Hi Simon - I guess it's Moroccan inspired by its use of pomegranate molasses and cinnamon. Lots of lamb pizza recipes out there - I've created my own version by combining and adapting my favourite aspects of them all.

    Hi Arwen - Ooh yes, that's what I call my dessert pizza. A great end to the meal!

    Hi Reemski - Oh so satisfying to make your own. And a good excuse to make a double batch - because you can! Happy pizza making :)

    Hi Gourmet Chick - Great idea. I actually have Ras el Hanout and totally forgot about it. I do have a pizza stone, but to be honest, I use my pizza trays which seem to heat just as well and make assembly much less stressful!

    Hi Bobatea - lol. I agree. Eating is always the best part!

    Hi FFichiban - lol. Yoghurt does go so well with lamb, and ha, didn't know you were so swayed by purdy pizzas!

    Hi Yas - Mmm.... figs, gorgonzola and pancetta is always an amazing combo. Too bad fig season has ended! And yes, get into some pizza making. Around midnight perhaps? lol


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