Sheikh El Mehshi and Rice


Sheikh El mehshi and rice: Sheik El Mehshee means the leader of stuffing and is one of the most delicious Lebanese dishes served with rice as a side dish. Of all the vegetables I find that eggplants if chosen right is very savoury. Adding to it this special stuffing with the meat, pine nuts, onions and spices then covered with the tomato sauce gives it the most distinctive taste ever. This recipe which I am presenting in my blog will let you enjoy eating the best sheikh lmehshi ever.

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 35 mins

Serves: 4 to 5

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggplants or 10 small ones

350 grams ground beef

2 tbsp of oil

One medium tomato cut into round slices

The stuffing:

one large onion chopped

3 tbsp pine nuts

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp allspice

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cinnamon

A dash of paprika

The sauce:

3 cups of water

3 tbsp heaped tomato paste

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

The rice:

1 cup rice

1/3 cup vermicelli noodles

1 tbsp oil

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

Preparation: heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the eggplants and peel partially, leaving around 4 to 5 strips of skin lengthwise. Leaving a bit of the skin helps keep the pieces of the eggplants stable after baking. Cut each eggplant to 6 pieces lengthwise. Grease a large oven pan with oil then arrange the pieces after making sure to coat all sides with oil using a brush. Bake or roast for 30 mins or until dark golden. You might have to turn them once to make sure both sides are light brown.

In a large pan put 2 tbsp of oil then stir in the pine nuts over medium heat until light golden, add the chopped onion and fry until semi transparent , stirring occasionally then put the meat and keep frying. Season with salt and all the spices in the stuffing's ingredients, keep cooking until well done trying to smash the ground beef into small pieces.

In the same oven pan cut each piece of eggplant lengthwise to form a pocket, keeping both edges close. Fill each eggplant around 2 heaped tbsp of the meat stuffing until you fill them all.

Make sure that the oven is heated again . Arrange the tomato slices on top of the eggplants. Now warm 3 cups of water then dissolve the tomato paste with the salt, allspice and cinnamon. Pour the tomato sauce on top then bake in the oven for 30 min and 5 mins from the top.

How to prepare the rice: wash the rice first very well. In a small cooking pot, put the oil and roast the vermicelli noodles over medium to low heat until golden stirring occasionally preventing it from burning. Add the rice and keep stirring for few mins then add the water and the salt, when it starts boiling turn the heat down to low then cover the pot but not fully. Let it simmer after boiling for 10 to 12 mins. and it is better to keep the pot covered for 3 to 4 mins before serving.

You will get the rice we use a lot in our Lebanese cuisine as a side dish to many dishes prepared with meat like green beans, okra, red beans and many more I will represent them in my blog.

I advise you to try sheikh El mehshi, honestly it is one of my favourite. With time it became my children's favourite after they discovered the amazing taste and flavour in this dish.

ENJOY!!!