This version of Mafrum is a Libyan Dish that Libyan Jews make often for the Sabbath. It consists of slices of potatoes cut like a pita and stuffed with a meat mixture. Then the parcels are dredged in flour and fried just to seal them and add flavor before placing them in a tomatoe based stewing sauce to cook the rest of the way. Though my grandmother never made this dish (we are Ashkenazi Jews so our ancestors came from Germany and Russia while this dish is made by Sephardic Jews from Spanish and Middle Eastern origins), I had to research the recipe from Jewish cookbooks and online sources and then adapt it for the Instant Pot. The recipe I based it on came from one of my favorite pages, Jewlish.com.
Not only is this dish delicious, but it is a great way to stretch just a few easy to find ingredients to feed a large group of people for very little money. And when you serve it over rice, you now have a dish that serves 8-12 people and made in about an hour. Even better, a few of the steps can be done ahead of time and either refrigerated or frozen to make in batches later on. I found that I could fit 12 parcels in my 6 QT Instant Pot, so I froze the leftover meat to use later.
I also included a version I created using ground turkey. My daughter is my head taste tester, but she does not eat red meat. So with just a few key changes, I was able to use ground turkey and make it stable enough to hold together just like the ground beef. I will create a separate page for the recipe.
Instant Pot Meat Stuffed Potato Stew (Mafrum)
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez adapted from Jewlish.com recipe
5 White Potatoes (You can use any waxy, thin skinned potato. Just make sure they are large enough to get 1/2 inch wide slices with about a 2 inch diameter)
1 cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
For the Meat Filling
1 LB Ground Beef (You can use ground lamb or ground turkey. If using ground turkey follow the recipe I have posted in the drop down menu because there are a few ingredient changes)
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Large Yellow Onion *chop the whole onion because you will use the other half in the sauce
1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper
Oil for Frying
For the Sauce
1 Tbl Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs Paprika
1/3 cup Tomato Paste (this is about half of an 8 oz can)
2 cups Water
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 tsp Salt and Pepper
-In mixing bowl, combine 1 Lb Ground Beef, 2 Cloves minced Garlic, 1/2 Chopped Yellow Onion, 2 Eggs, 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon and Cumin, 2 tsp Paprika, and 1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper, and 1/2 cup chopped Parsley. I like to use my hands to mix it all together.
-Cover with cling wrap and set aside.
***At this point I like to prep the ingredients for the sauce so after you fry the potatoes, you can quickly get the sauce together in the Instant Pot and it’s ready to cook.
-Chop the other half of the Yellow Onion, 2 Cloves of Garlic, 3 small Tomatoes, and 2 Carrots. In a large measuring cup combine 2 cups Water and 1/3 cup Tomato paste. Put this all aside.
-Get a large bowl of Water ready to place the potatoes in so they don’t turn brown and stay fresh while you work with them.
-Peel 4-5 White Potatoes and slice them into 1/2 inch wide slices. You should be able to get 3 to 4 slices from each potato to give you 12 total slices. The reason I list 5 potatoes in the ingredients is just in case you mess up slicing the potatoes in the next step, and need extra.
–Take one potato slice and hold it like in the picture above. Using a sharp knife. make a slice through the middle as if you are going to cut it in half, but stop about a little more than half way through. This should give you a potato slice that opens like a mouth or a piece of pita bread. Don’t cut all the way through!
-Take about 1 Tbl of the meat mixture and stuff it into the slice so it looks like you are stuffing a pita bread. Smooth it out so you don’t have meat oozing out. Set them aside on a plate.
-In one shallow dish, beat 2 Eggs. Pour 2 cups of AP Flour in another shallow dish. Dredge the potato parcels in the eggs and then in the flour. Gently shake off any extra flour and set aside.
-Heat Oil on High to about 350 degree in a large Dutch oven or deep sided frying pan. Make sure the oil is about 2 inches deep. Fry the potato parcels 3 mins on each side. You are NOT trying to cook them completely. This is just to get a crispy outer crust and bind the meat and potato together.
–Take them out and let them drain on a cooling rack with paper towels laid over it. Continue with remaining potatoes.
– Press “SAUTE” on your Instant Pot then press the “ADJUST” button until it says “LESS” on the display (not all IP’s have this function. If yours doesn’t, just sauté regularly.) Heat 1 Tbl Vegetable Oil. Then add 2 Cloves minced Garlic and 1 1/2 Tbl Paprika to pot and stir for 30 seconds. This is just to heat the garlic and paprika. Be careful not to burn it.
-Add the Water mixed with the Tomato Paste to the Instant Pot. Scrape the bottom and stir. Add 3 chopped Tomatoes, 1/2 Yellow Onion chopped, and salt and pepper.
-When it starts to simmer add the potatoes. You can fit about 12 into the Instant Pot. (You may notice toothpicks in my picture. You do not need toothpicks to hold them together. I put toothpicks to tell the difference between the ground turkey and the ground beef because I cooked them together.)
-Lock the instant Pot Lid in place and turn Vent to “SEALED”. Cook on High Pressure for 10 mins then NPR for 5 mins. QR the rest of the pressure and serve over rice or Couscous.