Baked Kafta

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Kafta is the Middle East’s version of hamburger meat. It can be shallow-fried, moulded onto skewers for barbecuing or baked with vegetables, as here. I prefer the texture of the kafta when it’s mixed by hand, but if you want to use a food processor, create the paste first in it before adding the meat. Pulse for 2 minutes, but be sure not to overwork the meat or it will be tough. For another type of kafta, try Herbed Kafta with Dukkah Tahini.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped, plus 400 g/14 oz/ cups onions, cut into ½cm/¼in slices
  • 2 handfuls of parsley leaves, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, very finely chopped
  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz minced/ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, or to taste
  • tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 g/1 lb 5 oz/4 cups tomatoes, cut into ½cm/¼in slices
  • 600 g/1 lb 5 oz/4 cups potatoes, cut into ½cm/¼in slices
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée/paste

Method

  1. Put the chopped onion and the herbs on a chopping board and continue chopping until the mixture forms a fine paste. Transfer the paste into a large bowl, add the meat and 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the allspice. Knead the mixture with your hands for 1–2 minutes until well mixed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Generously grease the base and sides of a 6 cm/ in deep, 35 cm/14 in diameter, baking dish with the oil. Spread the meat mixture across the base of the dish to a thickness of about 1 cm/½ in.
  3. Cover the entire meat layer with tomato slices, then season with another teaspoon of the salt. Next, form a layer of onion slices and then potato slices. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and allspice.
  4. Dilute the tomato purée/paste in 6 tablespoons water, mix well and drizzle the mixture over the potato slices.
  5. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  6. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the foil, then change the oven setting to grill/broil (or heat a separate grill/broiler and move the dish into it). Grill/broil on high for a few minutes or until the potatoes are golden and crispy. Serve hot.