from one generation to the next
I posted a recipe for Vegetable Moussaka at the end of July, and ever since then I have been intending to revisit a more traditional interpretation of this classic Greek dish. I looked at recipes in my cookbook library and decided to use what I liked from each. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients or the preparation, each step is simple and can be done concurrently. These quantities will make enough to serve 6 people with a crisp green salad.
2 large eggplants (aubergines)
4 zucchinis (courgettes)
4 medium sized potatoes ( yay! we all agree)
500g minced lamb or beef
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups hot milk
1 cup shredded sharply flavoured cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
A little extra cheese to scatter on top
Extra teaspoon dried oregano
Optional: 3 egg yolks, add if you would like neat slices when you serve the Moussaka
Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices. Spray an ovenproof tray with olive oil, lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on the tray, brush them lightly with olive oil. Bake in a medium hot oven 200C until cooked and golden brown, approx 20 minutes. Set aside
Repeat the process with the zucchinis, they will take a little less cooking time. Set aside
Scrub the potato skins then slice the potatoes about 1/2 cm thick. Stem the potato until cooked. Set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the meat and crumble it with the back of a fork until the meat is loose. Saute the meat until it is browned, then add the tomatoes, garlic and spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the meat uncovered until all the moisture has evaporated. Set aside.
Melt the butter then stir in the flour. Cook the flour stirring constantly for about 5 mins. Continuing to stir constantly, slowly add the milk. Continue stirring the sauce over a medium heat until it thickens. Stir in the nutmeg, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly to cool a little then beat in the egg yolks.
to construct the moussaka:
Grease a shallow ovenproof dish. Line the base of the dish with the potato slices. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce over the potatoes. Lay the zucchini slices down next, another 1/3 of the meat, the eggplant and the remainder of the meat.
Pour the thick bechamel sauce over the layered eat and vegetables. Scatter a little shredded cheese mover the surface and top with a little dried oregano.
Bake in a moderate oven 170C until the top is well browned and the meat and veg heated through, about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.