Some folks might frown at my calling this dish a gratin; I say it deserves the title, because it is meat encased in a tahini sauce, the way the French coat theirs in a béchamel sauce; you spread the meat mixture onto a pan, you add a quickly assembled tahini sauce and you plop it into the oven.
Easier to make than the French version, just as delicious. The only (slight) effort required is mixing the kafta; in a food processor, the kafta can be prepared in minutes.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 1 pound of ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and ground lamb (fatty is better)
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch of Italian parsley
- Spices: salt, 1 tsp of allspice, 1 tsp of cinnamon OR 1 1/2 tsp of seven-spice mix
- 3/4 cup of tahini
- 1/3 cup of orange juice (if you can from a Seville orange) and 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- enough water to make the sauce thick but pourable
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Place the onion in the food processor with the parsley (leaves only). Process until they are finely chopped; add the meat and spices and process until the mixture is well combined and pasty. Transfer to a greased oven-proof pan and pat it to spread it evenly.
- Pour the tahini into a bowl, add the freshly squeezed citrus juice and water, stirring all the way, until the sauce is thick but pourable. Spread over the kafta. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until the kafta is thoroughly cooked.
- Fry pine nuts in a little butter and spread on the surface of the gratin to garnish. Serve warm.