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Milk Street Bowtie Baked Kefta with Tahini

Baked Kefta with Tahini

4 to 6 Servings

1½ hours (30 minutes active)

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During a recent visit to Jordan, we learned the term “kefta” refers to a ground meat mixture flavored with onion and spices that may take a number of different forms. For example, it might be molded around metal skewers and grilled, or it can be pressed into other shapes and cooked in the oven. Tagreed Muhtaseb, a home cook who lives in Amman, taught us how to make her excellent kefta bi tahini (kefta with tahini) in which oblong “meatballs” are baked with potatoes, onion and a rich, lemony tahini-yogurt sauce. In the oven’s heat, the flavors meld and fuse deliciously while the surface develops flavorful browning. We adapted Muhtaseb’s recipe, precooking the potatoes and onion so they fully and evenly tenderize. We also brush tahini sauce rather sparingly onto the partially cooked kefta instead of saucing them heavily to keep the flavors bright and clean (we do love the sauce, though, so we serve some on the side at the table). Baharat is an all-purpose Middle Eastern spice blend. Look for it in well-stocked supermarkets, spice shops and Middle Eastern markets.

4 to 6

Servings

Tip

Don’t use room-temperature water to make the tahini sauce. Some brands of tahini tend to break when mixed with liquid, but we found that boiling water helps ensure a smooth, silky texture.

1½ hours (30 minutes active)

½ cup tahini
¼ cup boiling water
¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
¼ cup lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, ½ thinly sliced, ½ roughly chopped, reserved separately
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
½ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon ghee or salted butter, room temperature
1 pound 80 percent lean ground beef
2 teaspoons baharat (see headnote)
Warm pita bread, to serve
Ingredients
  • ½

    cup tahini

  • ¼

    cup boiling water

  • ¼

    cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • ¼

    cup lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    pound medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced ¼ inch thick

  • 1

    tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    large yellow onion, ½ thinly sliced, ½ roughly chopped, reserved separately

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • ½

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to serve

  • 1

    jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded

  • 1

    tablespoon ghee or salted butter, room temperature

  • 1

    pound 80 percent lean ground beef

  • 2

    teaspoons baharat (see headnote)

  • Warm pita bread, to serve

Directions

Baked Kefta with Tahini

More
Reviews
Asher M.
January 23, 2023
Woohoo yummy kefta
Turned out great, the kefta needed a little longer in my oven than directed, than again my over kinda sucks and the reading of temperature probably isn't accurate. Delicious, tender, well seasoned, the bed of potato and onion was just as good, well balanced tahini sauce, and super fun and easy to make. 10/10
Thom S.
January 14, 2023
Excellent
Excellent Kafta recipe. It's so easy and better than you'll find in most restaurants-including in the Middle East. Everyone loved this recipe. If at all possible, I would recommend trying to use the baharat.
Craig D.
January 6, 2023
Delicious meatballs with a unique flavor and presentation
Made this recipe last night for the family and it was a big hit! Although the recipe takes a good bit of time (due to the cooking of the potato/onions first and then meatballs), it was fairly straightforward to make . I didn't have baharat but looked online for reasonable substitutes. Berbere spice sounded to be a reasonable one and based on the reviews from family, it worked great! There were already requests to make this again, so I'll be doing so soon!
Rakesh P.
January 7, 2023
easy to make
easy to make. tahini sauce quantity can recut in half. would go well with Persian style rice. my kids liked it.