[Photograph: Kate Williams]

Lahmacun are Turkish flatbreads rolled up around a tomatoey lamb mixture, sprinkled with pepper flakes and topped with a spritz of lemon juice. They're a cousin of larger, milder pides, most often known as Turkish pizzas. The lahmacun in Lonely Planet's The World's Best Spicy Food are made from a simple yeast dough divided into small rounds, rolled out and topped with a saucy blend of lamb, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and spices. They're baked quickly in a hot oven and served as a snack, appetizer, or light meal.

Why I picked this recipe: It's hard to go wrong with lamb, tomatoes, and freshly baked flatbread.

What worked: These lahmacun are super easy to throw together if you're even mildly versed in homemade pizza.

What didn't: There is very little direction as far as seasoning goes. I'd recommend cooking off a little bit of lamb mixture in a skillet before baking the lahmacun to make sure you're happy with the flavor.

Suggested tweaks: I was curious about how Turkish salsa differs from the Mexican varieties in my grocery store. Turns out, they're similar except that the Turkish variety uses parsley instead of cilantro and often calls for pomegranate molasses. If you don't want to go to the trouble of using an authentic salsa, you can probably just skip it and add a bit of minced jalapeno to make up for the loss in spice. Bake the lahmacun on a pizza stone for the best results.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The World's Best Spicy Food to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.


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