Until Felix’s allergies changed how we ate I would often make a lasagne when I needed to feed a crowd. It’s not too exotic so suits fussy eaters, not to mention being fairly cheap to make. I used to make a massive lasagne a couple of days before so I could have lunch on the table without breaking a sweat. If the food is cooked in advance you can have a glass of wine without the risk of totally ruining the meal (I need to keep this in mind better at Christmas!) I’ve been on the hunt for a meal to replace it in our home for a long while.
A lovely friend learned to make this Lebanese dish from her mother-in-law and I was delighted it was shared with me. You could prepare Sheik el Mehohie several days in advance and serve it with Lebanese Rice which is adapted to be gluten free.
I have to confess at this stage I have adapted the recipe slightly, it’s now not totally authentic in process but it still tastes wonderful!
You might not think your kids will enjoy the aubergine (some days the boys will pick it out) but if you are feeding a crowd you want to impress go for this. Sheik el Mehohie can easily be scaled up in a larger dish. I would urge you to buy the very, very best quality meat for this dish. I cannot believe how much water came off supermarket mince. Using beef and lamb from an organic butchers transformed the flavour and texture of the whole meal.
Gluten free/dairy free/nut free/egg free/soya free
2 large Aubergines – chopped into 2cm square chunks
1 large onion – chopped small
250g Minced beef
250g Minced lamb
1/2 cup pine nuts
1tsp ground allspice
1tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
Chicken stock cube
350g passata (this is about 1/2 a large jar
3 large tomatoes – sliced thinly
Preheat the oven to 200c. Season the aubergine and on a baking tray for about 20 minutes until it is soft and tinged black at the edges.
Meanwhile fry the onion and mince together in a large frying pan, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Once browned add the pine nuts and keep frying for a few more minutes until golden.
Then add the stock cube, allspice and cumin to the mixture and stir.
Then all you need to do is assemble. Take an ovenproof dish, mine is rectangular and and approx 26cm long. Cover the base with the aubergine. Next add the mince mixture on top of the aubergine. Spread the passata on top of the mince.
Lastly arrange the tomatoes over the passata and season with salt and pepper. At this stage you could cover and put in the fridge for another day, just make sure you take it out of the fridge a while before you bake the dish.
Bake in a hot oven, 190c, for around 30 minutes. It is finished once the tomato is browned with the mixture bubbling underneath.
Serve with Lebanese rice, I’ll be posting a gluten and egg free version of this very soon!