Spinach-Filled Anatolian Flatbreads (Inspanakli Gözleme)
This recipe, adapted from Ghillie Basan’s Classic Turkish Cooking, is exemplary of the dozens of regional variations of Anatolia’s ubiquitous stuffed flatbread. Gözleme, from the Turkish gözleri, or “eyes,” are named for the dark brown spots that appear when cooked over a wide, flat griddle. (You’ll also find flatbreads like these cooked on a slightly concave pan called a saç, in which case the breads might be referred to as saç böregi.) If you can’t track down kirmizi biber, a mild Turkish chile powder, you can substitute a blend of equal parts sweet paprika and cayenne. This recipe also uses a tangy Turkish sheep’s milk cheese called kasar peyniri, but a hard pecorino is a find substitute.
What You Will Need
For the dough:
- 2 cups (8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 large onion (8 oz.), finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 16 oz. frozen, finely chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed over a fine strainer to extract as much liquid as possible
- 1 tsp. kirmizi biber
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 3 tbsp. grated kasar peyniri cheese, or substitute a hard pecorino
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup whole milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Form a well in the center and add ⅔ cup lukewarm water and the oil. Working in circular motions, use your hands to gradually drag flour from the sides into the wet ingredients to work the mixture into a dough. Once a dough forms, turn it out onto the counter and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces and roll the pieces into balls.
- Place the balls on a lightly floured surface, cover with a lightly damp cloth, and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not yet colored, 6–8 minutes. Stir in the spinach, kirmizi, nutmeg, and cheese, and cook for 2–3 minutes more. Sprinkle the flour over the spinach mixture. Add the milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the liquid thickens to a creamy sauce, 3–4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, and season with salt and pepper (the filling should have a texture similar to creamed spinach). Cover to keep warm while you finish shaping the dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten and roll the balls of dough into thin rounds, each 8–9 inches in diameter.
- Set a large plate and a stack of 8 sheets or a roll of parchment paper by the stove. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once hot, add one of the dough circles; cook just until bubbles form on the surface, about 10 seconds. Use your fingers or a wide spatula to remove and flip the dough onto the platter so that the cooked side is facing up. Top with a sheet of parchment paper. Continue cooking the dough circles in this manner, stacking the cooked pieces on the plate with parchment between each piece.
- Add the filling: Scoop about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the cooked side of one of the circles. Use the back of the spoon to spread and press it across the surface of the dough, all the way to the edges, then transfer the flatbread back to the skillet, filling side up. Cook until the filling is hot and the bottom is charred and crisped in some places but the flatbread is still flexible, 30–40 seconds. Lift the bread with its filling onto a piece of parchment paper and roll it up into a cone, wrapping the paper around it to make it easier to hold. Continue filling and cooking the remaining flatbreads, and serve warm.