You could choose almost any leafy greens but I like kale with a mix of dill and mint. That, plus a combination of 3 cheeses make for an interesting tasting flatbread. Notice the flecks of green in the dough? More kale!
I watched an episode of Rick Stein not too long ago and he was cooking somewhere in Turkey. What I could not get out of my head was this Turkish flatbread that the village women, dressed in their everyday village attire were preparing and frying up. The flatbreads were simply prepared as flatbreads usually are and it looked delicious.The women sat on the dirt floor, knees drawn up to their chest, huddled over huge wood-burned hotplates so large, I would not be able to encircle it with my arms. One woman would deftly roll out the dough into very wide thin rounds and half fill it with chopped leafy vegetables, sprinkle it with feta before she folded it shut with a thin metre long dowel. Followed by a quick seal of edges by nimble fingers, the filled half disc was thrown in one swift movement to the awaiting hotplate. It landed expertly and cooked speedily. Healthy fast food for a change!
Rick Stein oohed and aahed as he was served a pipping hot one and referred to the flatbread as ‘gozleme’, its Turkish name. It reminds me of the Armenian version called, ‘jingalov hats’ which are filled with even more green leafy vegetables. The whole process fascinated me -the rolling out of the dough, filling it in, flattening, sealing shut and cooking it on a hotplate. I had to make my own and here it is. I am glad I did. It is soft and delicious, just as I expected it to be. What to serve with these you might wonder. Scroll down to ‘Tips‘ for lots of suggestions. This goes really well with my fizzy Pineapple Ginger Lime Beer.
Flatbread Filled With 3 Kinds OF Cheese
|Inactive:||Dough rise time ~ 30 – 60 minutes|
|Level:||Difficult as it has multiple steps|
|Makes:||Four 9″ (23cm) half-moons flatbreads|
|Can recipe be doubled?||Yes|
|Make ahead?||Up to 2 hours but best freshly made|
1. If you are using frozen kale, you might have to reduce the amount of water used in this recipe. I suggest holding back ~1/4 cup and then when needed, add accordingly.
2. If using fresh kale, remove the entire tough stem of each leaf of kale. It’s too tough to use for this recipe. Please scroll down to ‘Tips‘ to find out how I use the stems.Kale leaves can hold quite a bit of dirt so clean and wash them well. Drain and use your hands to tear them into 2″ (5cm) strips.
3. Blanch the kale into a pot of boiling salted water for 1 – 1.5 minutes. The aim is to soften the leaves and not to cook them entirely.
4. Drain the kale and immerse them into a cold water bath to stop the cooking.
5. Drain the kale thoroughly and squeeze out excess water.
6. Use a measuring cup to compress 1 cup of kale. Remove 1/4 cup of it for the dough. Set aside. Reserve the remaining 3/4 cup for the filling.
7. If you have any excess kale, you can use up to an additional 1/2 cup more of kale on top of the 3/4 cup (for the filling). No point wasting.
1. Puree the 1/4 cup of blanched kale with 1/2 cup of water. Set aside.
Using a machine
1. Add all the dried ingredients into your mixer bowl and mix well. Pour in the kale puree. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Remember the 1/4 cup of water? Pour that in now but reserve ~1 Tablespoon of it (you might need it).
2. Start your machine on low to avoid a powder puff of flour in your face and gradually work up the speed to medium-high.
3. After 5 minutes or so, the dough would have come together.
4. If the dough looks very sticky, add 1 Tablespoon of flour and let the machine run for 1 minute. If necessary, add more flour in increments of 1 Tablespoon but you really should not need to add flour. The final dough will be slightly sticky. It is better to finish off with a moist, slightly sticky dough than a dry dough as the latter often bakes into dry bread.
5. If the dough looks at all dry, add the reserved 1 Tablespoon of water and let the machine run for 1 minute. If necessary, add more water in increments of 1 Tablespoon but you really should not need to add any more water beyond a total of 3 extra Tablespoons. The final dough will be slightly sticky. As mentioned, keep in mind that it is better to finish off with a moist, slightly sticky dough than a dry dough as the latter often bakes into dry bread.
6. When is the dough kneaded enough? With my KitchenAid, in about 7 – 10 minutes. The dough should be not at all tight but very pliable and smooth.
7. Carry out the ‘window pane’ test. Pinch off a handful of dough. Stretch it. If it stretches easily and you can achieve a translucent membrane before the dough tears too quickly, all is well.
8. Divide into 4 balls. I like to weigh and then divide equally.
9. Brush each ball with extra virgin olive oil so that it does not dry out. Cover with plastic wrap and let them double in size, ~ 30 minutes to 1 hour. Prepare the filling whilst you wait.
Using your hands
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix up all the dry ingredients. Pour in the kale puree. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Remember the 1/4 cup of water? Pour that in now but reserve ~1 Tablespoon of it (you might need it).
2. Work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spoon. Switch to your hands once the spoon becomes useless and try and gather the dough into a ball.
3. If the dough looks very sticky, add 1 Tablespoon of flour and work it in. If necessary, add more flour in increments of 1 Tablespoon but you really should not need to add flour. The final dough will be slightly sticky. It is better to finish off with a moist, slightly sticky dough than a dry dough as the latter often bakes into dry bread.
4. If the dough looks at all dry, add the reserved 1 Tablespoon of water and work it in. If necessary, add more water in increments of 1 Tablespoon but you really should not need to add any more water beyond a total of 3 extra Tablespoons. The final dough will be slightly sticky. As mentioned, keep in mind that it is better to finish off with a moist, slightly sticky dough than a dry dough as the latter often bakes into dry bread.
5. Transfer the dough into your work top and start kneading the dough. Flatten dough, pull the far edge in towards you as if you are trying to fold the dough almost in half. With the heal of your palms, press down and push the dough out away from you. Continue with this kneading. You might want to rotate the dough as you pull and push out the dough. How long will it take? 15 minutes or so or until you have a dough that is not at all tight but very pliable and smooth. You might want to add 1/2 Tablespoon of water if you think the dough is just too tight despite continuous kneading.
6. Carry out the ‘window pane’ test. Pinch off a handful of dough. Stretch it. If it stretches easily and you can achieve a translucent membrane before the dough tears, all is well. Divide into 4 balls. I like to weigh and then divide equally.
7. Brush each ball with extra virgin olive oil so that it does not dry out. Cover with plastic wrap and let them double in size, ~ 30 minutes to 1 hour. Prepare the filling whilst you wait.
1. Dice up the kale into smaller pieces.
2. Mix the 3/4 cup kale (and up to 1/2 cup more kale if you are trying to use up any excess kale), finely diced onions, chopped dill and mint, the cheese(s) and the pepper. Don’t salt as yet. Divide into 4 equal portions.
1. Once your dough has doubled in size and your filling has been prepared, you can start to cook. Have the following ready:
(3) Flour for dusting
(4) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing over tops of flatbread
(5) Rolling pin
(6) 9″ (23cm) Heavy base frying pan
(7) Spatula to turn the flatbread
(9) Vessel to set down your cooked flatbread
2. Heat up a wide base nonstick frying pan (wide enough to fry your dough) over medium-high heat but keep it closer towards ‘medium’. I use my 9″ (23cm) base pan. No need to add oil.
3. Flour you work surface. Place one dough ball on the work surface, flatten with the palm of your hand and flour both sides of the dough. Roll the dough out to a size that will fit into your frying pan. In this case it is 9″ (23cm).
4. Fill with one portion of filling and sprinkle with salt to taste.
5. Fold to shut. Press the edges down with your fingers to seal. However, leave the last 1″ (2.5cm) open. Pat the filling down to help distribute it evenly and to dispel air pockets. That done, seal the last 1″ (2.5cm).
6. Secure the edges further by crimping with a fork or use your fingers to pinch in.
1. When the pan is hot, transfer the shaped dough into it. Fry on one side for about 4 minutes or until most of the bottom is golden brown. The dough will puff up.
2. Flip and cook for a further 4 minutes or until most of this flipped side turns golden brown. How long it takes to cook depends on how hot your pan gets. If the pan is too hot, it will brown quickly but the dough might not be cooked, so keep an eye and adjust the burner accordingly.
3. Remove from the pan, brush the top side of the dough with extra virgin olive oil. Repeat process with the rest of the dough.
4. Taste best served straight away. What to pair with flatbreads? Scroll down to ‘Tips‘ for suggestions.
What to do with the kale stalks?
-Flash fry them chinese style with a bit of garlic in oil. Slice them at an angle into long diagonals. Season with soy sauce and salt or perhaps some chicken granules.
-Fried Rice Dice them and add them in when making fried rice. It gives a nice crunch.
-Dog Food Personally, I cook, grind and add it into my dog’s dinner. Then again, the dog is on home-prepared meals. Allergic to corn, potatoes, rice, soy, carrots and a whole lot of other food and environmental allergens (yes, he has been tested), let’s just say it has the healthiest heart for a dog as the dog thrives on a staple of oats, broccoli and all things good. That’s healthier eating compared to me!
What to eat with flatbreads?
-Good bread for dipping. To keep it at its simplest, serve with a bowl of yogurt that could be flavoured with minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. To keep it even more simple, have a bowl of extra virgin olive oil ready for dipping. I like to add a little sea salt to the oil and some times some chilli flakes and/or a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
-Serve these flat bread with Italian Caprese Salad – fresh mozzarella, red tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Instead of mozzarella, l splurge on burrata which is made of mozzarella and cream. So delicious.
-Hot Tomato Soup
-Prosciutto or Iberico ham. Always good!
-Go crazy and prepare a spread of meze like I sometimes do. The image below is of a Middle Eastern and North Africa inspired meze. The image below tha is a meze spread inspired by my Greek holiday in Santorini and Athens.
Zaalouk – Moroccan Roasted Eggplants and Tomatoes;
Kabis – Lebanese Pickled Turnips and Beets;
Moroccan inspired Radish, Bell Peppers and Mint Salad;
Flash Fried Sweet Mini Bell Peppers.
Greek inspired Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta;
Hummus with Spiced Angus Beef Slices;
Beef Kafta – Lebanese inspired Meatballs.
Labneh – Lebanese Drained Yogurt Drizzled With Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Clover Honey;
Moroccan inspired Roasted Green Bell Peppers and Tomatoes With Olives;
Fresh Figs With Peppered Ricotta.
Here is the spread of the rest of the Greek Meze.
First row. Left to right:
Slow Cooked Octopus In A Sherry Vinegar Garlic Marinade,
Moussaka – Baked Casserole Of Eggplants, Tomatoey Meat Topped With A Creamy White Sauce,
Santorini Fava A Delicious Yellow Split Peas Dip,
Grilled & Marinated Peppers With Fig Balsamic Cream
Second row. Left to right:
Greek Inspired Harissa-Style Hot Chilli Sauce To Go With Olives,
5 Minutes Grilled Cheese Meze,
Santorini Tomatoey Tomato Balls/Fritters
Third row. Left to right:
Crispy Whitebait And Sweet Onions Disk,
Pork Souvlaki Kebabs Skewers,
Tzatziki A Cucumber Yogurt Dip,
Oh So Soft Pita Bread