* If you don’t have a baharat blend handy, and don’t feel like making one, simply use 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon paprika, and a pinch of cinnamon.
** If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can totally use another ovenproof skillet of a similar size. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, you can make the filling on the stove, and then transfer it to a casserole dish to broil with the potato topping.
To make ahead: The best way to make this ahead is to make the potato topping and the filling separately. Once the filling is thickened and bubbly, add a couple extra tablespoons of water to thin it out slightly, and stash in the refrigerator in a resealable container. Make the potato topping, and store it separately in the refrigerator in a resealable container. Once you’re ready to put it all together, place the filling in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and bring it up to a simmer. Microwave the potatoes for a minute or so just to take the chill off. Once the filling is simmering and the potatoes are warm, spread them over the surface as in the recipe, and proceed as usual. Alternatively, if you’re really short on time the day you plan to serve, you can totally make the whole thing ahead the day before, and then reheat it before serving—it won’t be quite as wonderful, but it’ll still be delicious.