A festive dish, mafroum is one of those foods that reminds me of Moroccan grandmothers who bustle into the kitchen, don an apron, and lovingly conjure delicious food out of vegetables and meat fresh from the shouk.And one of the good things about mafroum is that it satisfies 6 people with only 1 lb. of ground meat.
Freshly ground meat, of course, which is how careful Middle Eastern cooks get their meat – ground under their eyes at the butcher’s or the supermarket.
It does take time and a little effort to make mafroum but once it’s done, you need only couscous and a leafy salad to make a complete meal. Note: I often substitute ground turkey for the beef. For a vegetarian version, substitute 1- 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or buckwheat groats.
Have ready 6 bowls or containers, medium sized.
Mafroum, Moroccan Stuffed Potatoes
6 medium potatoes of uniform size, peeled
salt and pepper
2 beaten eggs
Oil for frying
500 gr. – 1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt and ground black pepper
* 2/3 tsp. Baharat spice
1/3 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 Tblsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Chili pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 potato, grated coarsely, rinsed, and drained till dry
1 large, chopped onion
4 crushed cloves of garlic
4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 Tblsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
One-quarter of a cabbage, cut into coarse chunks
Approx. 1 liter stock or water
3 Tblsp. each of fresh mint, parsley, and celery leaves, chopped
The method for making mafroum
Mix the meat and seasonings for stuffing.
Beat it well to mix thoroughly.
Cover the seasoned meat and refrigerate for half an hour.
In the meantime, get three bowls out. 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.
Slice each potato 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, 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 the fourth bowl and season it with salt and pepper.
Roll the potatoes in the seasoned flour, shaking 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.
Saute the onion in the remaining oil, till 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 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.
* If Baharat spice mix isn’t available, mix these powdered spices to make your own. Blend well and keep in a tightly-lidded jar.
Make Baharat Spice Mix
1 Tblsp. cardamom
1 Tblsp. black pepper
1/2 Tbslp. allspice
1 Tblsp. cinnamon
1 Tblsp. dry ginger
1/2 Tblsp. nutmeg