Milk Street: Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes (Ep 505)

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Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

Start to finish: 1½ hours (1 hour active), plus cooling Servings: 4 to 6

PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, not peeled, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground lamb or 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14½-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, cored and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 small green bell pepper or Anaheim chili, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin rings


INSTRUCTIONS


Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Distribute in a single layer and roast without stirring just until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 10 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.

While the potatoes cook, line a second baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, onion, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix gently until just combined; do not overmix. Divide the mixture into about 20 golf ball-size portions (1½ to 1¾ inches in diameter) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball into a patty about 2½ inches wide and ¼ inch thick (it’s fine the patties are not perfectly round); set aside until ready to assemble.

In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the crushed tomatoes, garlic, the ¼ cup oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir well, then distribute in an even layer. Shingle the potatoes, tomato slices, green pepper rings and meat patties in 3 or 4 rows down the length of the baking dish, alternating the ingredients. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with pepper.

Bake, uncovered, until the kafta and potatoes are browned and the juices are bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.