Lamb and Tomato Stew with Crispy Potatoes
Recipe type: Soup, Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • 2 lbs. prepared kafta (lamb meatballs). You can also substitute beef – [recipe here]
  • 2 to 3 lbs. Yellow Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (for the potatoes)
  • 3 teaspoons of salt (for the potatoes)
  • 2 28 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup regular olive oil
  • Coarse ground kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, as garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Make the kafta and shape into meatballs. Brown them in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat, then set them aside.
  3. Par-boil the potatoes. To do so, thoroughly wash them and cut them into ½-inch thick rounds. Place them in a large pot and cover with cold water, making sure that the potatoes are covered by at least an inch. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once they come to a boil, you may need to turn the heat down a little bit, but allow them to boil for about 5 minutes. You don’t want the potatoes to fully cook. You are only looking to parboil the potatoes and to draw out some of the starch and sugar of the potatoes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Working quickly, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt, and mix together well using a rubber spatula. After mixing well, add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and another ½ teaspoon of salt. Once the potatoes start to look and feel pasty on the outside transfer them to a large baking sheet, laying them out in a single layer. Use two baking sheets if necessary.
  5. Place on the lowest racks in the oven and bake at 450 for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once the potatoes are crispy on the bottom, remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully flip the potatoes. Return baking sheets to oven and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the potatoes to a cooling rack. Once the potatoes are cool, cut them into quarters and set aside.
  7. Pan-fry the onions in a little oil over medium to medium-high heat until they are soft and translucent. Add the petite diced tomatoes and the chicken stock, as well as the spices. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  8. Add the browned meatballs and the potatoes to the pot and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.
  9. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
Par-boiled Potatoes – The process of par-boiling the potatoes is what leads to the crispness of the final product. Par-boiling draws out some of the starch and sugar from the potatoes, which ensures that they will crisp when roasted in the oven. I cut them into rounds because that is the only way to ensure even cooking of the potatoes. Once the roasted potatoes are added to the stew, they will soak up a lot of the extra liquid, making the stew thicker without losing any flavor.

Rice Pilaf is the traditional accompaniment to this stew.
Recipe by The Catholic Foodie at