Stuffed Vegetables Tagine

This is a tagine of tomato and courgette shells stuffed with flavourful and juicy minced meat and glazed with herbed eggs.

Serves 6 people

6 medium courgettes
5 large red, ripe tomatoes
340 g (12 oz) minced beef
60 g (2 oz) uncooked rice
3 large eggs, beaten
2 large onions, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon dried mint
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons mixed, freshly chopped parsley and coriander
salt and black pepper to taste

Top, tail the courgettes and cut in half lengthwise. Peel and cut off a thin slice from the top of the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and enough flesh from both vegetables to leave a strong wall. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

While the hollow vegetables are draining, prepare the stuffing. In a frying pan, fry the onion, meat, garlic, spices and half of the herbs. Stir in the rice, add 300 ml (½ pint) water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the rice is ready – the mixture should still be juicy. Stir in the lemon juice, adjust seasoning, remove the cinnamon stick and let cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, the remaining herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the meat and rice mixture into the vegetables and place in an oven-proof dish, open side facing upwards. Cover with aluminium foil and then bake in the middle of an oven, at 180 C, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and then continue baking uncovered for 20 minutes.

Pour the egg mixture over the stuffed vegetables and bake until the eggs are firm and ready. Serve at once.