For the casserole:
- 2 pounds medium potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 jalapeño, cut into rounds (optional)
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb, or a combination
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste or tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/ 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/ 4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Olive oil or nonstick spray
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/ 2 cup broth or water
- Chopped salad, Arab bread and olives for serving (optional)
Prep the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Let’s start by prepping our potatoes. Although you can just slice your potatoes and toss them in the oven. But I love the results of parboiling or partially boiling the potatoes. This method yields to creamy potatoes on the inside and crunchy and crispy on the outside. To parboil your potatoes: Start by placing your whole potatoes in a pot and cover them with water. Throw in a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium and continue boiling for about 10 minutes. Test your potatoes with the tip of a s knife if it goes in with slight resistance, they are ready for their next step. Drain the water and let your potatoes cool enough to handle. Once the potatoes are cooled, cut into 1/2 thick slices.
Prepare the kiftah:
In a bowl, mix all the kiftah ingredients together until combined but don’t over mix. Spray your hands with cooking spray or olive oil and shape the mixture into golf size patties. Divide the kiftah into 12-14 equal size balls and flatten slightly. Each kiftah ball is about 2.5 ounces each or adjust to the size you like. Tip: if kiftah mixture is sticky dip your fingers in a bowl of ice cold water or spray your hands with a bit of oil it will help smooth the kiftah balls.
In your baking dish, toss the sliced potatoes, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes and sliced peppers with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Arrange them in a single layer in the baking dish overlapping slightly. Top the potatoes and vegetables mixture with the kiftah balls. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil all over the top. Add 1/2 cup of water or broth to the bottom of the dish and bake covered until cooked through about 30 minutes then uncover for additional 15 minutes. Check to make sure the potatoes are done and cooked all the way through.
To serve: spoon some of the kiftah meatballs, veggies on a plate, make sure you spoon some of that sauce (pan drippings) on top. Serve with a chopped salad, arab bread and olives.