Baked Layers of Spiced Beef Mince, Potatoes, Tomatoes and Pinenuts

1:18 am on 25 October 2006

This is the most delicious recipe I know which uses minced beef – or minced lamb. The ample pinenuts on top are its crowning glory. Palestinian in origin, it is served directly from the baking dish, and can be eaten piping hot, although it is almost nicer when it cools down to room temperature. This makes it a perfect meal to carry to an outdoor table on a warm evening. Serve with bread and a leafy salad.

(Serves 4)


Meat Layer

  • 800g minced beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • half teaspoon cumin
  • half teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 heaped salt
  • big bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Potato Layer

  • 4 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Tomato Layers

  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch cumin


  • 4 medium (500g) fresh tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for trickling
  • 4 heaped tablespoons (50g) pine nuts


Preheat oven to 220°C. Put in a large shallow roasting dish the minced beef, onion, parsley, spices, salt and olive oil. Knead together with your hands and press out to form a thin layer over the bottom of the dish. Put in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

While the meat is baking, blanch the potato slices in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, before draining.

Also, combine in a bowl the canned tomatoes and a pinch of paprika and cumin.

Once the meat is out of the oven, spread 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the meat. Arrange the blanched potato slices over the top. Thinly slice the fresh tomatoes and spread over the potatoes. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top, trickle with a little olive oil and scatter with pine nuts. Put back in the oven and lower the heat to 200°C. Bake for a further 20-30 minutes. Serve hot or warm directly from the roasting dish.

Suggested wines to compliment this recipe


Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels 2004

Villa Maria Private Bin 2005

Clearview Enigma 2004

Matua Valley 2004

Te Mata Woodthorpe Merlot/Cabernet 2005

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