Kafta w batata, a traditional Lebanese dish, is cooked in every household in Lebanon. I think this dish is a favorite to most family members, and moms love to prepare it to their kids. My mom used to prepare this dish when we were little kids, and when I got married, it became my husband’s favorite dish. Every time we would visit my parents for lunch, kafta and batata would be one of the many dishes that my mom would prepare. My husband would always say that my mom’s kafta w batata is better than mine, although I follow mom’s recipe and I don’t change anything! But maybe she added a pinch of love to this plate and she made sure that my husband, Pierre is enjoying it!

Note: Many people use lamb meat for kafta, but I prefer beef.

Ingredients

Yields: 6-8 portions

- 1 kg minced beef (with 10% fat), or minced lamb (no added fat)
- 2 onions, peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch of parsley, cleaned and chopped (only leaves, without the stem) (around 2 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil (I use canola)
- 7-8 potatoes peeled and sliced
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced
- 4-5 red tomatoes, sliced
- 1 big can crushed tomatoes (or 500 grams fresh red tomatoes, crushed in the food processor)
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 liter chicken stock or water
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick



Method

  1. Put the onions and chopped parsley in the food processor.
  2. Add ½ tsp of salt and start the machine.
  3. Once the onions and parsley are finely chopped, turn off the machine and take them out.
  4. Put the minced beef (or lamb) in the food processor in two batches.
  5. Grind the meat well until you get a finely ground meat.
  6. Take the meat out from the processor and add to the onion and parsley mix.
  7. Add the remaining ½ tsp salt, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  8. You can wear disposable gloves to mix the kafta, or you can use a wooden spoon.
  9. Mix all the ingredients very well, and start shaping the kafta into patties.
  10. Use a clean frying pan and add the canola oil. Put on the heat.
  11. Start adding the kafta patties to the oil and cook on both sides until golden.
  12. Once done, keep the kafta aside.
  13. Meanwhile, put the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock (or water), salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks in a pot on the heat.
  14. Once the sauce starts boiling, turn down the heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  15. To assemble the dish, lay the kafta patties, and add the potato slices on top.
  16. Then add the onion slices and tomato slices on top of the potatoes.
  17. Add the hot tomato sauce to the dish and cover with foil.
  18. Bake in a hot oven on 200°C for 1 hour or more. 
  19. Make sure the potato slices are tender and well-cooked.
  20. Serve kafta and batata with green salad on the side.