Yemeni style Misaga'a مسقعة is typically made with fried eggplant and potatoes. This recipe is on the lighter side - all vegetables are oven roasted instead!
I love this dish because it is loaded with veggies. It can easily be vegan - just leave out the meat. Misaga'a is also great for dinner parties, weekday meals, or meal prep because you can make it ahead of time and bake it the day you want to serve it. It also microwaves really well, so it is one of my favorite work/school microwavable meals.
If you have friends who don't like eggplant - let them try this.
3 medium eggplants ثلاثة حبات باذنجان متوسطة
4 medium golden potatoes أربعة حبات بطاطا
Olive oil (varies) زيت زيتون
1 large yellow onion حبة بصل أصفر
3 tbsp minced garlic ثلاث ملاعق ك ثوم مهروس
1 tbsp crushed ginger ملعقة ك زنجبيل مهروس
1 tbsp minced jalapeños or green chili ملعقة ك بسباس
1 lb ground beef ٤٥ كيلو لحم بقري مفروم
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste ملعقة ك معجون طماطم
1.5 tbsp Yemeni Hawayij ملعقة و نص ك حوايج يمنية
2 vine tomatoes حبتين طماطم
1.5 cups tomato sauce كباية ونص صلصة طماطم
1.5 cups freshly chopped parsley كباية ونص بقدونس
2 large green pepper حبتين فلفل أخضر باردة
Cut ends off of eggplants then use a peeler to peel off 4-5 strands of peels, separating each by about 2 inches. Slice eggplant into 1.5 inch rounds.
Arrange the eggplant on parchment lined baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil on each side of the eggplant and season generously with salt and pepper. The amount of olive oil depends on your preference. The more oil, the more delicious it will be. If you are trying to keep this on the lighter side, use an olive oil spray. Do not "toss" eggplant in olive oil - they will just soak up the oil before you even have a chance to toss them.
Bake at 400F until golden and caramelized. You will need to flip them to ensure both sides have caramelized.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the potatoes.
While your vegetables are roasting, heat a large skillet with olive oil (one tablespoon). Saute' diced yellow onion in the oil until translucent, then add garlic, ginger, and green chili or jalapeño.
Once onions are browned on the edges, and the garlic is fragrant, add ground beef. Use the edge of your wooden spoon or rigid spatula to break up the meat. Continue doing so until it is broken down into small pieces. The meat will release moisture. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until moisture evaporates and the meat begins browning.
Add tomato paste, Yemeni Hawayij, and fresh tomatoes. Once fresh tomatoes are wilted down, add your plain marinara or tomato sauce.
Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat then add fresh parsley.
To assemble, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the bottom of your rectangular baking dish. Arrange your roasted potatoes on the bottom - it is ok if they slightly overlap, you want to make sure the entire bottom is covered.
Next, carefully arrange your roasted eggplant on top of the potatoes. I recommend slightly overlapping them to ensure the entire surface is covered.
Add 3/4 of your meat mixture to the top. Spread evenly and gently press down. You can add the last 1/4 too or set aside for another dish :)
Slice green pepper into thick rounds. You will need to core the center's seeds. Arrange the pepper rounds onto the surface of the meat. Gently press down into the meat mixture.
Cover with aluminum foil and poke 4-5 holes for steam.
Bake in a 375F oven for one hour. Broil until slightly browned.
Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
This dish tastes best the second day. Complete steps 1 through 13 on day one then let it rest in the fridge to develop the flavors. Bake on day 2 or 3.
Serve with lemon wedges - this tastes incredible with freshly squeezes lemon juice.
Side suggestions: plain rice and salad.
Make this dish vegan by simply leaving out the meat and replacing it with an extra 2 cups of tomato sauce.
To reheat, either microwave, bake on low heat, or add to a saute' pan and heat on low with a splash or two of water.