Some of the best sweet and savory pastries in the world hail from the Middle East, so join James Beard Award–winning chef-bakers Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick on their journey through Turkey and beyond. Their new cookbook, Soframiz, is packed with the very best, breadiest baked goods this side of the Euphrates. This sausage pita with cumin is an addictive new way to enjoy your flatbread.
The combination of cumin and orange creates a flavor that is unmistakably Greek. Pickled peppers and orange zest cut through the richness of this interpretation of loukanika, a popular Greek-style sausage. This flatbread is a Sofra favorite and has been on our menu since the day we opened. In Greece, this pita would be made with a yeasted flatbread like the manoushe but I find my yufka recipe easier to work with to achieve a thinness that’s proportionate to the filling. You can substitute a store-bought pita for this that is already cooked. You will want to split the pita in half (or butterfly it) so that you have two rounds to work with and so that it remains thin. The method is the same as for gozleme, but the flavors are something you would taste only in Greece.
Cook’s Notes: When making flatbreads that require yufka dough, you can substitute commercial yufka, country-style phyllo, or lavash bread, but the results won’t be as flaky and tender as the yufka you make from scratch. All of the above substitutes are precooked so you can fill them and toast them as described in each recipe.
- 1 teaspoon Grapeseed oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon maras pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 12 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 to 8 pickled pepperoncini, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, such as Lucques or Picholine, coarsely chopped
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more as needed
For the dough
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and olive oil. Using your fingers, draw the flour in from all sides, working the mixture until it’s sticky and forms into a ball. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Transfer back to the bowl, drizzle with a little bit of oil, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into three equal pieces; you should have six equal pieces, each weighing about 2 ounces.
Roll out each yufka ball into a very thin 8- to 9-inch round, using plenty of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Stack them on top of each other with a piece of parchment paper between them and plenty of flour or lay them out slightly overlapping on a baking sheet.
Heat an 11- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat and cook the yufka on one side until it starts to bubble up and lightly brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. You only need to partially cook each flatbread at this stage; don’t get them too crispy or they will be dry and hard to work with. Stack them on top of each other as you cook each one so that they lightly steam and keep each other soft and pliable.
If you are not using immediately, transfer the warm yufka to a large zip-top plastic bag and store at room temperature up to overnight. You can also freeze the yufka for up to 2 weeks. After thawing, reheat briefly in a skillet over medium heat before using.
For the sausage pita
In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the pork, breaking it up, until it turns golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Add the allspice, Maras pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, sugar, salt, and pepper and mix in the spices as you continue to stir and break up the meat. When the meat is cooked through, about 4 minutes, stir in the orange zest and parsley. Drain the sausage in a colander and set aside to cool. If the sausage seems very coarse with large clumps, chop it so that it’s a fine crumble.
Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the feta and butter until very smooth and creamy, like mayonnaise. Set aside until you are ready to assemble.
When you are ready to assemble, put 2 tablespoons feta butter on each yufka and smooth it to the edges in a very thin layer. Sprinkle with about 1⁄3 cup sausage mixture and distribute it evenly, using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon pepperoncini and 1 tablespoon olives over each pita. Fold the left side in toward the middle and then the right side toward the middle, overlapping by about 1⁄2 inch, to form a rectangle shape with an open top and bottom.
When the pitas are assembled, heat an 11- to 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Place two pitas at a time, seam side down, in the pan. Cook until the filling is hot and the bread is lightly toasted on one side but still soft on the other, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook for 1 minute more to heat through. Place on a tray and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining four pitas. Cut into halves or strips and serve immediately.