Dolmeh #6½ – Batatis Meschi – Stuffed Potatoes

Makes about 20
There’s an awful lot of stuffed stuff in Veggiestan. So much that we couldn’t stuff it all in, and some of the dishes have overflowed here.

This isn’t quite like the other dolmeh in the book, as the potatoes are kind of fiddled with before you stuff them. But they are nevertheless referred to as stuffed potatoes in Arabic, and who are we to argue?

This makes a great picnic, meze or buffet dish, a fancy accompaniment to a main course, or, if you add some sauce and salad, a neat Sunday supper. Doesn’t get much more versatile.

for the potato casing:

  • 500g mashing potatoes (King Edwards are good)
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • salt and pepper

for the filling:

  • oil for frying
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies, chopped (optional)
  • 1 sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 250g well-cooked pinto (or red kidney) beans (i.e. 1 tin, drained)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • salt to taste

to assemble:

  • flour
  • rapeseed oil for frying

Peel the pots, cook them in boiling salted water and then mash them until they are smooth. Next beat in the other ingredients, seasoning to taste.

Now for the filling. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and add the onion, chilli and pepper – cook until they are soft. Throw in the beans and the tomatoes, squidging, mashing and stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon. Cook for a few minutes more, season and then take off the heat.

Mould the potato into plum sized lumps, and then use a teaspoon to prod a little of the filling into the centre of each one, smoothing the potato casing around it so that it is entirely encased.

Roll the potato spheres in flour, and then fry them in hot oil until they are a pleasant golden colour all over.

Serve hot or cold on a bed of lettuce leaves.

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