If you aren't aware of my travels to Turkey, take a look. One of my favorite delicacies was a sausage known as suçuk. Its various guises and spicy oils separate into whatever dish within which its used, making for a lovely bread dipping and what became an essential for my daily lunch or more often morning egg fry up. But alas I am not in Istanbul where I so often had some of the best food of my life, including suçuk. When I returned to Sunnyside where I live, I was fortunate to have a strong Turkish community nearby, but I found the suçuk lackluster, even industrial and dry. That was until I ventured out to Astoria to visit my main salumi man, Frank at Sorriso's.
As I passed a shop of Bosnian origins (the name of which has completely vanished from my memory disk) I spotted a suçuk in the window of his shop... and decided to venture in to see what the other half was making in the Balkan style. Bosnia, you might remember, was part of the Ottoman empire. I ended up buying some suçuk. Frying up this slightly smoked specimen, I was amazed at the fat content and the semi softness of the sausage, as it seemed like the same animal I had in Istanbul, a symbiosis of meat and fat content. Taste, well the spice may vary slightly but the freshness and melting qualities of this suçuk are extraordinary. I don't have to look far now for this sausage umami. It's just a neighborhood away. Yes!
Like most nations, Turkey's cooking is varied so far as flavors, textures, etc. More interesting are the range of culinary influences, other cultures brought in to the mix during the historic Ottoman empire. Since coming back from Istanbul, I've missed the plethora of street food, yearning for the flavors I sampled but also missed (there was so much I wanted to try!).
Dilara, who runs Istanbul's excellent restaurant Abracadabra, sent me
home from my recent trip with a gift basket full of delicious things. One such delicacy was suçuk, a dried sausage known around the whole of the former Ottoman empire. It's a dried sausage made of beef or lamb, redolent with flavors and scents that are a reminder of the spice route that ran through Anatolia. Since I have been slaving at work, that suçuck has been hanging out in my fridge waiting to be sampled. My cat has been eyeing it for some time, so yesterday I took it off the hook from which it was hanging on the
side of my baker's bench, afraid it would be gnawed to bits by my cat if I waited.
Meanwhile I set about converting the pide hamuru (dough) recipe from my friend Gökhan the baker, throwing in some old fashioned intuition, not to mention some useful videos in Turkish on You Tube. Together, this assortment of ingredients and user-help led to a fair recreation of the great street food I've been pining for since returning from Istanbul. The result is a winner, and it sure beats that tired take out pizza from your local where you're lucky if they bake the pie rather than just reheat.
Gökhan’s Pide Hamuru with suçuk
Serves two (Unless your hungry and don't want to share!)
285 g Flour 8 g Salt 5g yeast(optional) 14g sugar 170 g water or as Gerkan said, squeezing his index and thumb to ear (gauge hydration by feel.) 68g levain
I used a combination no knead like Jim Lahey with a couple fold like Dan Lepard, but left the dough for about 8-10 hours or so to rise, while I went shopping at the market for the rest of the ingredients!
I cut the dough into two equal portions and rolled them out into oblong shapes covered with the fillings and pinched up the side of the dough like the shape of a canoe. Brushed with extra virgin olive oil and baked in a 450 F oven for about 15-20 minutes till nicely colored, finish with another coat of olive oil, can't get enough of the stuff!
Fillings: In this I used
1 sliced onion slightly sauted with 2 green peppers, also sliced. ( green frying Italian style peppers)
1 beautiful red ripe tomato, quatered and slice about a 1/4 inch wide
Suçuck chopped up, you could substitute any good sausage really, chorizo, merguez etc...
I didn't have any mozzarella, instead I used grated ricotta salata.
With this delicious pide I had a wonderful Hog Heaven Barley winestyle- ale from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, nice.