Moussaka

neil bougourd | 18 January, 2021


          
            Moussaka

A really tasty meal! You can pair it with a crisp green salad to balance the richness of this meal. Make more than you need, as it makes wonderful leftovers.

Ingredients

Base ingredients

  • 4 large eggplants
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the meat sauce *(see below for vegetarian sauce)

  • 750g beef or lamb mince
  • 2 red onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A tsp of Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the bechamel sauce

  • 900ml milk
  • 120g butter ( 8 Tbsp )
  • 120g flour (8 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsps quatre épices ( or nutmeg)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • salt to taste

For vegetarian sauce

  • 4 onions chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A tsp of Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. To prepare this Greek moussaka recipe, begin by preparing the eggplants. Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into slices, 1-2 cm thick. Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Rinse the eggplants with plenty of water and squeeze with your hands, to get rid of the excessive water. Drizzle the aubergines with some olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes. Set aside when done.
  3. If you are adding potatoes to your moussaka, now its time to slice them into 0.5cm, half a finger width slices. Bake them in the same way as the eggplants. Season with some salt and set them aside when done.
  4. Prepare the meat sauce for the moussaka. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onions and sauté, until softened and slightly coloured. Stir in the mince breaking it up with a wooden spoon and sauté. When it starts to brown, add the the garlic and tomato puree and sauté until the garlic starts to soften. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the meat juices and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes or until most of the juices have evaporated. Set aside when done.
  5. Prepare the béchamel sauce for the moussaka. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Its consistency should resemble a thick cream. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette!  Season with salt to taste. Take one spoon full of béchamel and stir it in the meat sauce. Set the béchamel sauce aside.
  6. Now its time to assemble the moussaka. For this moussaka recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm. Oil the bottom and sides of the pan and layer the potatoes first then half the eggplants. Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread it out evenly. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with all of the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
  7. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Preheat you oven at 395º and bake your moussaka for about 60 minutes or until its crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard, you should wait for the moussaka to cool down and be just warm to the touch before cutting into pieces. This will prevent the béchamel sauce from pouring out when you’re cutting your pieces.

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