Known as mafroum, this Mediterranean dish is savory and spicy. (Photo: Miriam Kresh/Unpacked)

Mafroum: Meat-stuffed potatoes with herbs and spices

Mafroum is a Mediterranean dish that is savory and spicy.

Mafroum melts in your mouth with a truly Mediterranean aroma and taste. It’s a filling, comforting dish.

I made it without the cabbage that the recipe calls for, but if you do add cabbage, it becomes a near-complete meal. Served with lots of pita, you’ll need only salad or a steamed green vegetable to round it out. It’s a lot of chopping, but the combination of meat and potatoes cooked on a low flame until tender in a delicious, spicy sauce, makes a dish well worth the effort.

You’ll need 6 bowls or containers, medium sized, for this recipe.

Mafroum

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Prep30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Yield6

Ingredients

For the potatoes

  • 6 medium potatoes of uniform size, peeled
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour

For the stuffing

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt and ground black pepper
  • tsp Baharat spice
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tbsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 potato, grated coarsely, rinsed and drained until dry
  • Chili pepper to taste

For the sauce

  • 1 large, chopped onion
  • 4 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ of a cabbage, cut into coarse chunks
  • 1 liter stock or water (I used chicken soup)
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh celery leaves, chopped

Instructions

  • Mix the meat and seasonings for stuffing.
  • Mix the meat and seasonings for stuffing.
  • Cover the seasoned meat and put it away in the fridge for half an hour, to allow the seasoning to penetrate.
  • In the meantime, get three bowls out. You’re going to chop the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Chop the large onion. Put it in one bowl.
  • In the second bowl put the chopped garlic and celery stalks.
  • Dice the tomato and put it in the third bowl.
  • Now prepare the potatoes for stuffing. Peel the potatoes, if you haven’t already, and slice each one almost in half. Leave the bottom uncut so that the two halves stay connected. Stuff the potatoes with the seasoned meat. Pack it in. The open side will show a thicker layer of meat than the inside. With your finger, neatly pat back any meat that spills out of the opening.
  • In a wide pan, heat the oil for frying.
  • Beat the eggs. Put about 1 cup of flour in yet another bowl and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Roll the potatoes in the seasoned flour; shake them back and forth gently to cover them.
  • Now roll them in the beaten egg.
  • Fry the potatoes until golden, turning once. Tongs work better than a spatula for this.
  • Remove from the frying pan and put on paper towels to drain.
  • Pour out most of the frying oil. Cook and stir the onion in the remaining oil, until golden.
  • Add the garlic and celery stalks. Fry for 4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and chopped tomato. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper again, lightly. Add the cabbage and stock or water.
  • Put the potatoes into the sauce, in one layer. Add the chopped mint, parsley and celery leaves. Put the lid on the pan, tilted to cover it partially. Cook over low heat for 2 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Serve the potatoes over rice or couscous, with the sauce passed around separately if you wish.

Notes

If Baharat spice mix isn’t available, mix these powdered spices to make your own. Blend well and keep in a tightly closed jar: 1 tablespoon cardamom, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon allspice, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon dry ginger, 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg.

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