Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad

Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant

with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

The complex, aromatic flavors of the Middle East shine in tonight’s dish. A hearty medley of sautéed beef, roasted eggplant, and spinach is served on a bed of rice—cooked with a mosaic of spices like peppery nigella seed, warming cassia, and bittersweet saffron. A creamy cucumber salad provides the perfect cooling finish.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    750 Cals (est.)
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Sautéed Beef & Roasted Eggplant with Spiced Rice & Cucumber Salad
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tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the figs:
1 Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the figs:

Remove the honey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Quarter the eggplant lengthwise; cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Peel the cucumber, leaving alternating strips of skin intact; medium dice. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Roughly chop the figs; place in a bowl with half the vinegar and ¼ cup of warm water. Set aside to rehydrate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

Roast the eggplant:
2 Roast the eggplant:

While the figs rehydrate, place the eggplant on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the rice:
3 Cook the rice:

While the eggplant roasts, in a small pot, combine the rice, spice blend, a big pinch of salt, and 1 ⅓ cups of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Stir in the rehydrated figs (draining before adding). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the cucumber salad:
4 Make the cucumber salad:

While the rice cooks, pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, labneh, remaining vinegar, and half the mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.

Cook the beef:
5 Cook the beef:

While the rice continues to cook, using your hands, separate the sliced beef; pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned beef and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate.

Finish & plate your dish:
6 Finish & plate your dish:

Add the onion to the pan of reserved fond; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the spinach and honey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Add the cooked beef and roasted eggplant; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked rice between 2 dishes. Top with the finished beef and vegetables. Garnish with the remaining mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Serve with the cucumber salad on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the figs:

Remove the honey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Quarter the eggplant lengthwise; cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Peel the cucumber, leaving alternating strips of skin intact; medium dice. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Roughly chop the figs; place in a bowl with half the vinegar and ¼ cup of warm water. Set aside to rehydrate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

2 Roast the eggplant:

While the figs rehydrate, place the eggplant on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. Set aside in a warm place.

Roast the eggplant:
Cook the rice:
3 Cook the rice:

While the eggplant roasts, in a small pot, combine the rice, spice blend, a big pinch of salt, and 1 ⅓ cups of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Stir in the rehydrated figs (draining before adding). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Make the cucumber salad:

While the rice cooks, pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, labneh, remaining vinegar, and half the mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.

Make the cucumber salad:
5 Cook the beef:

While the rice continues to cook, using your hands, separate the sliced beef; pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned beef and cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until just cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate.

6 Finish & plate your dish:

Add the onion to the pan of reserved fond; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the spinach and honey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Add the cooked beef and roasted eggplant; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked rice between 2 dishes. Top with the finished beef and vegetables. Garnish with the remaining mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Serve with the cucumber salad on the side. Enjoy!

Finish & plate your dish:
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