My earliest memory of eating kufta is at my grandparent’s house. The house would fill with this familiar delicious smell, and I knew that a juicy spiced meat patty with slow roasted tomatoes in a pita sandwich was in my near future.
Growing up, I would always love being at my grandparent’s house when Jido William (my dad’s father) would come home from work for lunch. My grandma would have the most epic spread out for him. For them it probably seemed like simple things, but for me it was always a treat. There would be labneh, green olives marinated in a tomato-lemon brine, a variety of picked vegetables, fresh vegetables, pita, rosewater lemonade and some sort of meat – hopefully it was kufta. Oh ya, and of course something sweet always finished a meal, it was my Jido William after all and he loved his sweets.
Kufta is so versatile and easy to make. I was lucky enough to learn this recipe from my mother-in-law Majedah. Let me tell you, although living in different states, with FaceTime these days, anything is possible. The taste and smell is exactly as I remember it. You can enjoy kufta as a sandwich (Arabic hamburger hello?!), with a side salad, or just by itself. Once you learn how easy and tasty this dish is, you will surprise yourself, and be like “KELLY CLARKSON!……..I just made KUFTA!”
- 2 lbs lean ground meat, ~95/5
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, stems removed, chopped finely
- 1 large jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4-5 roma or vine tomatoes, cut into medium sized round slices
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl mix onion, parsley, jalapeno, ground meat, salt, pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are throughly combined into the meat
- Place meat mixture into a ~10-11" diameter oven safe pan or cast iron skillet. Flatten out meat mixture until evenly distributed along the entire pan.
- As if cutting brownies in a pan, with a butter knife (to not scratch the bottom of your pan) make about 4-5 lines vertically and 4-5 lines horizontally. Be sure to run knife down each line about 2 times as to ensure solid edges to each meat slice once cooking is complete.
- Very lightly salt tomatoes (don't over salt as the meat is decently salted).
- Arrange tomatoes over the entire top of the meat.
- Cook uncovered in oven for 1 hour
- After 1 hour, cover with foil and cook for another 30 minutes.
- Remove foil, increase oven to 400°F and cook for 12 minutes.
- Then place on high broil for 3 minutes to help slightly brown further the top of patty and tomato.
- Enjoy as is, with a salad, in a pita with hot peppers, with rice. This is basically an Arabic hamburger/meat pie- the options are endless. Enjoy!