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Meat stuffed onions and eggplants served on a platter.
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Sheikh El Mahshi

If you want a showstopper recipe to proudly serve to your guests, or to treat your family, this is it! The ultimate stuffed onions and eggplant, cooked in a flavourful tomato broth.
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword easy dinner, eggplant, middle eastern
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 people
Calories 529kcal

Equipment

  • Stove

Ingredients

For the stuffing

  • 2 cups onion roughly 3 small onions
  • 1 kg ground beef
  • 1.5 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the vegetables

  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 onions

For the cooking broth

  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses substitute with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

To make the stuffing

  • Finely chop the onions and soften them on medium heat with the vegetable oil
  • Add the ground beef and break it up into small pieces, then cook for 5-7 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally
  • Add all of the stuffing spices and continue to stir until all the moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside to cool

Coring and stuffing the vegetables

  • For the onions, cut off the edges using a very small and shallow cut - you want to keep the onion intact. Peel the onion, then dig your knife around the end where the root was and carve it out slightly (this helps separate the layers). Refer to photo in post
  • Make a long cut lengthwise all the way to the centre - do not cut past the centre. Then microwave the onions for 1 minute to soften the layers slightly. Wait for them to cool, then use your fingers to carefully dislodge the layers and pop them out one by one. Be gentle!
  • Next, peel the eggplant in a zebra pattern, every other stripe (see example photo). Peeling it like this will help make it easy to cut and eat later.
  • Depending on the size of your eggplant, cut across the width into 2 or 3 even sized pieces (see photo). Core each piece using a sharp pairing knife and save the insides
  • Lightly shallow fry each eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side to get some colour (you should not cook them through) and add flavour. Allow them to cool
  • Line a pot with the insides of the eggplant and a drizzle of oil. Stuff the eggplant first and line the pieces up to form a complete eggplant, which will help the filling stay inside
  • Stuff the onions and nestle them in tightly with the eggplant. Ensure the pot is packed in tightly

Cooking the Sheikh El Mahshi

  • Place a plate on top of the stuffed vegetables to help keep them in place
  • Mix together the cooking broth ingredients and pour it over the plate to almost submerge all of the vegetables
  • Bring to a boil on high heat, and once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and allow it to boil gently for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Taste and adjust the broth for salt
  • Serve by gently spooning out the stuffed vegetables onto a platter with high sides, and spooning the broth on top

Notes

  • When choosing the onions for stuffing, go for narrow onions as they are easier to stuff
  • For eggplant, the best variety to use is Italian eggplant, but the larger ones will work too
  • Lightly frying the eggplant before stuffing will give this dish a lot of flavour. Make sure you don't fry for too long, you want them to stay intact and not soften too much

Nutrition

Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 1022mg | Potassium: 1172mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 5mg