Moussaka

There are lots of different recipes for Moussaka available- some with Potato, some without Potato. Some with Potato on top, some with Potato at the bottom. Some have Lamb, some have Beef.. Its a bit like Lasagne in that respect- everyone has ‘their’ version & these recipes create much debate on food forums across the internet! Well I don’t claim to know the answer, I have simply put together the bits I like and left outs the bits I’m not so keen on & hopefully I have made it look simple as its not a very difficult dish to prepare but lots of recipes for it that I have read seem a bit daunting.. Let me know what you think!

Mini Cocotte

 

Ingredients (Serves 4-6 Depending on your Greed!)

4 Potatoes, Par Boiled & Sliced into Rounds

500g Lamb Mince (use Beef if preferred)
2 Medium Yellow Onions, Finely Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint, Chopped
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground All Spice
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/3 Cup/80ml Red Wine
1/2 Cup Lamb (or Beef) Stock
1 Cup Tinned Tomatoes, Chopped
2 Tbs Tomato Puree
Salt & Pepper, to Taste

More Chop Chopping!

For The Bechamel Topping

35g Butter
35g Plain White Flour
275ml Whole Milk
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Large Egg
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbs Parmesan, Grated
Method

For The Aubergines:

  • First you need to remove any bitterness that may be lurking in the Aubergines- to do this, remove the stalks (leave the skin on) and slice them lengthways into 1cm thick pieces
  • Place these into a colander & sprinkle with salt
  • Put a small plate on top of the aubergines & something heavy on top of the plate (I used a small heavy bottomed saucepan)
  • Put a plate under the colander to collect the liquid from the Aubergines- Leave them for one hour
  • Pre Heat the Oven to Gas Mark 7, 220oc
  • Rinse the Aubergines & dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel
  • Cover a baking sheet with the Aubergine Slices, drizzle with 1 Tbs of Olive Oil & place them in the oven for 30 mins
  • Remove to a plate lined with Paper Towels to absorb excess oil

Salted!

Bye Bye Bitterness

Bronzed

For The Meat Sauce:

  • Heat a Large frying pan & brown Lamb Mince (I didn’t use any Oil as the Lamb releases fat as its cooking)
  • Tip the Lamb into a colander & let the excess fat drain off
  • Meanwhile tip the Onions & Garlic into the pan you just fried the Mince in & gently soften in the residual oil
  • Tip the Lamb back into the pan with the Onions & Garlic- stir well to combine
  • Add the Fresh & Dried Herbs/Spices
  • Add the Tinned Tomatoes & Tomato Puree
  • Add the Red Wine & Lamb Stock
  • Season to Taste & simmer for 20 mins or until almost all of the Liquid has evaporated
  • Set aside for later

Good Consistency

For The Topping

  • Place Flour, Butter, Bay Leaf & Nutmeg in a pan- Slowly using a Whisk add the Milk, keep whisking until smooth & thickened
  • Turn the heat to Low, cook for 5 mins- Throw away the Bay Leaf & Season with Salt & Pepper
  • Place to one side to cool slightly, then Whisk in the Egg till perfectly combined

Assembly

  • Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 5, 190oc
  • Line the base of your Casserole Dish with a layer of Potatoes
  • Cover the Potatoes with a layer of Meat Sauce
  • Cover the Meat Sauce with a layer of Aubergines
  • Do another layer of Meat Sauce
  • Then finish with a layer of Aubergines
  • Spoon the Topping over & cover with Grated Cheese
  • Place in the oven for 45 mins (or until the topping has puffed up & turned brown)
  • Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving
  • Serve with a Simple Salad, dressed with Olive Oil & Lemon Juice

Potato Slices

Mince Layer

Aubergine Layer

Topping

Top with Cheese

Golden Brown

Layered

Moussaka & Salad

Season & Dress

NB

A 250g tub of Ricotta cheese added to your Topping Mix before assembly gives a nice rich Moussaka

A handful of Breadcrumbs sprinkled over your Topping before baking adds some texture

Experiment with different Herbs- Fresh Mint goes nicely with Lamb


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