23rd February 17:02
Mafroum: Libyan-Style Stuffed Vegetables
The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook
by Gloria Kaufer Greene
This tasty dish is often served on Shabbat by Libyan Jews such as Liora
Ben-Chaim Zandman, a resident of Jerusalem. Just a year after Israel
became a state, Mrs. Zandman and her family left their home in Tripoli and
"made aliyah" (immigrated to Israel). In her adopted country, she married
and raised a family, but still kept cooking the delicious dishes of her
Though many of her favorite foods are obviously Middle Eastern in style
and taste, they have distinctively Jewish touches, such as the matzah meal
in the following meat stuffing.
In this recipe, potato and eggplant slices are stuffed, then fried in a
tasty coating that helps hold them together, and finally simmered in a
flavorful tomato sauce. If desired, mafroum can be prepared using only
eggplant or potatoes.
Mafroum: Libyan-Style Stuffed Vegetables
1 pound very lean ground beef or lamb
1 to 2 medium onions, grated
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large eggs or 1/2 cup pareve egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
About 1/4 cup matzah meal
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 large boiling or all-purpose potatoes
Vegetable oil for frying
All-purpose or unbleached white flour
1 to 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 cups water
Salt, ground black pepper, and cinnamon to taste
For the stuffing, combine all the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl,
and mix very well with your hands until the mixture is quite smooth and
well blended. (A food processor may be used for this step.) Set the
Prepare the vegetables as follows: Use a sharp knife to cut off the ends
of the eggplant; then cut I crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices.
Carefully slit each slice almost in half to form two thin slices that are
connected at one end. (It may be easier to do this by cutting 3/8-inch
crosswise slices from the whole eggplant, but only slicing every other one
Peel the potatoes; then cut them lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Slit
the slices almost in half, as with the eggplant.
To stuff the vegetables, use your fingers to firmly pack the meat stuffing
inside each slit slice, forming "sandwiches" that look like partially open
clamshells. The stuffing layer should be about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. It
will be slightly more difficult to stuff the potatoes, as they do not give
as easily as the eggplant.
In a large Dutch oven, soup pot, or very large, deep skillet, heat about 2
to 3 tablespoons of oil. Lightly coat each sandwich with flour, then the
beaten egg. Fry the sandwiches in the oil, in batches, until they are
golden brown on both sides. Set them aside on a plate. (If desired, the
recipe may be prepared ahead of time up to this point, and the sandwiches
refrigerated until about an hour before serving time.)
For the sauce, pour all the oil from the pot except about 1 tablespoon (or
add more oil, if necessary). Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it
is tender. Stir in the tomato paste, water, and seasonings to taste.
Bring the sauce to a simmer. Carefully add all the fried sandwiches to
the sauce, trying to have no more than two layers. The sauce should
almost, but not completely, cover them. Add a bit more water, if
Cover the pot, and simmer the vegetable sandwiches for about 1 hour, or
until they are tender and the meat is cooked through. Occasionally baste
the top vegetables with some of the sauce.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to remove the stuffed vegetables from the
pot to a serving platter. If the sauce seems too watery, quickly boil it
down until it reaches a thicker consistency. Adjust the seasonings to
taste. Pour some of the sauce over the vegetables, and serve the rest on
Makes about 6 servings.
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