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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

1½ hours 1 hour active, plus cooling

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Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

Free

It’s easy to see why kafta bil sanieh, a casserole, if you will, of sliced potatoes, rounds of tomatoes and flavorful kafta (seasoned meatballs or meat patties), is Lebanese comfort food. The ingredients are shingled into a baking dish and baked until the flavors meld and the textures become deliciously succulent and tender. Our rendition, based on a recipe from “The Palestinian Table” by Reem Kassis, starts with a simple no-cook tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, where juices collect during baking and form a delicious sauce. To ensure the potatoes cook evenly and thoroughly, we precook them by roasting them for about 10 minutes, enough time to begin making the kafta. We especially like the flavor of ground lamb kafta, but if you prefer, use 80 percent lean ground beef instead. Serve with rice pilaf.

4 to 6

Servings

Tip

Don’t overmix the meat mixture or the kafta will cook up with a firm, bouncy texture. Using a light hand when mixing and shaping will keep the kafta tender. The patties don’t need to be perfectly round, but do try to keep them about ¼ inch thick, as they’ll puff a little when baked. And if one or two (or a few) fall apart while you layer the ingredients into the baking dish, not to worry—gently smoosh the patties back together.

1½ hours

1 hour active, plus cooling

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
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 ½ 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
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

  • 14 ½

    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

Directions
  1. 01
    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.
  2. 02
    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.
  3. 03
    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.
  4. 04
    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.
Tip: Don’t overmix the meat mixture or the kafta will cook up with a firm, bouncy texture. Using a light hand when mixing and shaping will keep the kafta tender. The patties don’t need to be perfectly round, but do try to keep them about ¼ inch thick, as they’ll puff a little when baked. And if one or two (or a few) fall apart while you layer the ingredients into the baking dish, not to worry—gently smoosh the patties back together.
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Reviews
Tatiana R.

This was really good. Somehow, it was exactly the right amount of everything to have 4 neat rows in the baking dish. I actually used a smaller baking dish because the 9x13'' one was already in use, but it all fit anyway! I was at first skeptical about the amount of tomato sauce, but I followed the instructions, and it was great. I served it with garlic tahini sauce, by the way - it was a great combo, IMO.

Tatiana R.

Instead of mixing the single spices, I just used a Garam Masala mix I have, and I think it worked great. BTW, my mix only has the following ingredients: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and coriander. To my taste, allspice is close enough to clove (though not in the same proportion) that I think the substitution works.

William H.

In the ingredients list, it states: "1 medium yellow onion, halved and grated...". Do you mean to grate and use only half of the onion (which I would have worded as: "1/2 medium yellow onion, grated..."), or to halve, grate, and use the whole onion? Thank you!

Lynn C.

Hi William -

You should halve and grate the whole onion. We recommend halving it to make it easier to grate.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Wendy W.

Delicious and colorful! I regret that I only made half a recipe because the two of us didn't have enough left over for a second meal. The green and red colors will be perfect for the holidays.

Diana L.

Thank you for your comment! Your comment is currently under moderation and will appear shortly.

Michael Y.

This was very, very good though it was a little bit greasy for me. Next time, I might reduce the olive oil a little because the ground lamb releases a good bit of fat in the oven usually.

Diana L.

I have submitted my comment but for some reason it did not go through. It is very taste dish. You need more salt. It tastes alot better the next day. I did not think it had alot of fat. I used lamb.

Susan S.

My favorite dinners to make for company are the ones where there is little, or nothing, to do once they get here, and this recipe is perfect for that, it's easy to make and delicious. The only swap out I did was poblano chilis. A perfect 'company' meal.


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Lebanese Baked Kafta with Potatoes and Tomatoes

Get Ready to Cook

4 to 6

Servings

1½ hours

1 hour active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t overmix the meat mixture or the kafta will cook up with a firm, bouncy texture. Using a light hand when mixing and shaping will keep the kafta tender. The patties don’t need to be perfectly round, but do try to keep them about ¼ inch thick, as they’ll puff a little when baked. And if one or two (or a few) fall apart while you layer the ingredients into the baking dish, not to worry—gently smoosh the patties back together.

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

  • 14 ½

    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

Step 1 of 4

Roast the Potatoes

1
pound Yukon Gold potatoes, not peeled, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼
teaspoon salt

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.

Step 2 of 4

Make the Lamb Mixture

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
¾
teaspoon salt
¼
teaspoon pepper

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.

Step 3 of 4

Prepare Your Baking Dish

14 ½
ounce can crushed tomatoes
2
medium garlic cloves, minced
¼
cup extra-virgin olive oil
½
teaspoon salt
¼
teaspoon pepper
1
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

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.

Step 4 of 4

Bake the Kafta and Potatoes

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.

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