Stuffed Vegetables/Mahshi

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Stuffed Vegetables/Mahshi
Like so many Middle Eastern dishes, stuffed vegetables are popular across the region, but recipes vary from cook to cook and country to country. For variations, try substituting cooked lentils or beans, or tofu for the meat.

Ingredients

        2 eggplants or 4 zuchinni, tomatoes, bell peppers, or onions*
        ¾ c. uncooked rice; 1 tbsp. olive oil
        1/3 lb. lean ground lamb or beef; 1 large onion, chopped
        1 clove garlic, minced; 1/3  c. pine nuts (optional)
        8-oz. can crushed tomatoes; ½ tsp. cinnamon
        ½ tsp. allspice; ¼ c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
        ½ tsp. salt; ¼ tsp. black pepper.

*To stuff any of these vegetables, either cut in half the long way (for eggplant and zucchini) or cut off one end or the top for tomatoes and peppers. Scoop out the vegetable’s center, including any seeds, and fill with the meat stuffing. If you like, you can mix some of the removed veggie with the filling.

Instructions

1. Prepare vegetables for stuffing.

2. Rinse rice well in a colander under running water. Place in a bowl, cover with warm water, and soak.

3. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat. Using a spatula or spoon to break up any lumps, cook 5 minutes, or until meat begins to brown. Add onion, garlic, and pine nuts (if using) to pan and sauté 3 to 5 minutes more.

4. Add tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well, cover pan, and simmer 10 minutes.

5. Drain rice and add to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes longer. 6. Fill vegetables of your choice. Place stuffed veggies in a baking dish with ½ c. water and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Food: Stuffed Vegetables/Mahshi

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