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Stuffed Baby Aubergines (Sheikh El Mehchi)

2017-08-19
  • Servings : 4

This is another tasty recipe from Lebanon. The eggplants or aubergines are stuffed with lamb mince, pine nuts and baked in the oven with a rich tomato sauce.

The best accompaniment is rice cooked with a handful of vermicelli that has been first fried in oil or butter until golden red. The fried vermicelli gives a very nice taste to the rice.

NB: if you don’t find these aubergines in the supermarket, you will surely find them in Asian groceries that sell vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 12 aubergines, washed and partly peeled, with stems on (see photo)
  • 500g of minced lamb
  • 1 big onion, cut in small pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed for the meat and 1 tbsp of garlic powder for the tomato sauce
  • A handful of pine nuts, soaked in water beforehand
  • 1 tsp of allspice
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of white or black pepper for the meat and for the tomato sauce
  • Vegetable oil to fry the eggplants
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of olive oil to fry the minced lamb
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste for the meat and 400g of peeled plum tomatoes for the tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric for the meat and for the tomato sauce (healthy supplement)
  • Salt, for the meat and for the tomato sauce, to taste

Method

Step 1

Fry the eggplants in vegetable oil, such as rapeseed oil, until lightly browned and soft, then drain on a kitchen towel.

Step 2

Add the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meat until golden red then add all the spices, salt, pine nuts and the tomato paste. Fry for few more minutes then remove from the heat and leave aside to cool.

Step 3

Slit each fried eggplant lengthwise, on one side, then press gently to form a pocket and fill it with the meat mixture. (For ref. see photo).

Step 4

Once all the aubergines are filled, place them side by side in a Pyrex dish (or similar).

Step 5

In a bowl, stir in chunks of the peeled tomato plums and the juice together with some salt, pepper, garlic powder and turmeric. Add a little bit of water if needed. Combine all then pour over the stuffed eggplants and bake in the oven, about 20 min, until the sauce is bubbling and the tops are a little brown.

Step 6

Serve hot with rice.

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