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.
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 large onion, very finely chopped, plus 400g/14oz onions, cut into 1⁄2cm/1⁄4in slices
2 handfuls of parsley leaves, very finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, very finely chopped
500g/1lb 2oz minced lamb or beef 1 tbsp sea salt, or to taste
11⁄2 tsp Spice Kitchen Levantine Seven Spice
2 tbsp olive oil
600g/1lb 5oz tomatoes, cut into 1⁄2cm/1⁄4in slices
600g/1lb 5oz potatoes, cut into 1⁄2cm/1⁄4in slices
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
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 seven spice. 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 6cm/21⁄2in deep, 35cm/14in diameter, baking dish with the oil. Spread the meat mixture across the base of the dish to a thickness of about 1cm/1⁄2in.
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 seven spice.
4 Dilute the tomato purée 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 (or heat a separate grill and move the dish into it). Grill on high for a few minutes or until the potatoes are golden and crispy. Serve hot.
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