This is a version of Kofta (ground spiced meat) from Syria or the Ottoman empire, where the Kofta patties are baked in the oven vertically with sliced vegetables in between.
Kofta is the Arabian version of Turkish kebobs. They are likely a culinary inheritance from the Ottoman empire when it ruled the Arab Levant for four centuries. It’s a great one-dish bake for weekend dinners, and makes great leftovers too.
1 lb ground lamb (or half beef or all beef)
2 tsp Arabian Baharat
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
small bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TBL olive oil
2 medium eggplants, peeled zebra, cut into half-inch slices, and sprinkled with salt at least 30 minutes, then squeezed and pat-dried)
2 medium zucchinis, cut into half-inch slices
2 medium potatoes or 1 yam, cut into half-inch slices
2 medium tomatoes, cut into half-inch slices
¼ cup olive oil
1 TBL Dried oregano or zaatar herb
¼ cup good tomato sauce or 2 TBL tomato paste
Sprinkle of sugar
½ cup chicken broth
Lemon slices and parsley to garnish
Make Kofta: Combine Arabian Baharat, mint, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and olive oil together. Add to ground meat and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Divide spiced meat into four equal parts, then divide each quarter into four again to create 16 balls. Flatten to make patties and set on large baking dish lined with parchment.
Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and lay around kofta patties on baking sheet.
Roast meat and eggplant at 425 for 10 minutes to brown a bit. Remove from over and lower temperature to 375 F.
Toss slices of zucchini, potato, and tomato with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried oregano or zaatar herb.
Mix tomato sauce or paste with chicken broth and sugar. Season with salt.
In a deep baking dish or cast-iron skillet, arrange kofta, eggplant and raw sliced vegetables one after another vertically, starting from the edge of the vessel, and circling in towards its center until filled up. Make sure everything is nice and tight (It’s ok if kofta patties are a bit bigger than the vegetables; they will shrink with cooking). Pour tomato broth over everything.
Bake UNCOVERED at 375 F for 45-60 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serve with rice or pita.