Mixed Stuffed Vegetables: Tajin Mahshi محشي مشكل

Stuffed cabbage and vine leaves are best cooked on the stove, but Mahshi vegetables like paprika, tomatoes, onions, courgettes and aubergines are easier to make as a casserole. The larger varieties of aubergines and courgettes tend to get  mushy when stewed.

Tajin Mahshi is usually a main meal served, but for guests stuffed vegetables are always just a side dish. Mahshi is a great make-ahead dish, as it tastes even better the next day, and warms up well. You can also prep extra vegetables and stuffing, and freeze both to make it less of a chore next time.

Serves 6
3 Aubergines (ideally small, or cut large ones in half and use the bottom ends)
3 Courgettes (ditto)
3 Firm Tomatoes 
3  small paprika Peppers (preferably the smaller Arabic variety, less sweet and with firmer flesh)

500g finely chopped lamb (or substitute minced meat)
1 cup finely chopped large onion
1cup finely chopped tomato
2 cups finely chopped parsley
2 cups short-grain rice, pre-soaked for 10 minutes and drained
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 finely chopped chillies (optional)
pieces chopped spring onions (optional) 
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp of each, black pepper, turmeric, ginger,cinnamon

Cooking Liquid
1 tablespoon olive oil
1teaspoon tomato past
1cup boiling water
1 tsp of each salt, black pepper ,ginger, turmeric, cinnamon

To core the courgettes and aubergines use the pointed end of a vegetable peeler to hollow out a segment, then hold the peeler in place and rotate the vegetable until you have scraped away almost all the flesh. Remove the tomato pulp with a teaspoon, dice the pulp and add it to the stuffing mix.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling, stuff the vegetables leaving space for the rice to expand (fill to about 3/4). Place the vegetables in an oven-proof dish (one layer only). Line the pot with parsley stems or potato slices before placing the stuffed vegetables in it.
Mix and spoon the cooking liquid over the vegetables, cover with foil and place in the middle of the oven at 250°C for about one hour. Remove the foil and cook for further 15 minutes (until all liquid is absorbed and the Mahshi is slightly browned).