from one generation to the next
It’s idealistic to believe that a family will sit down to dinner and share a nutritionally balanced meal with lively conversation each and every night of the week. The demands of modern life and the mobility of kids and partners means that more frequently, dinner is eaten in shifts.
My husband is a lousy cook and his only interest in food is eating so when either of us has a late afternoon or evening commitments it falls to me to get myself organised and prepare a dish that can be made in individual serves and will not suffer being held over and/or reheated. In summer it’s always a salad, but the cooler months are upon us I prefer to have a more substantial dish, something warming.
We’re all over the place at meal times this week, so long neglected moussaka was my dinner of choice. It fell below the radar because our eating habits changed enormously when we relocated to Brisbane, oven baked food took a step backward but it’s good to revisit the moreish flavours of savoury lamb mince, grilled eggplant, zucchini and cheesy bechamel, all melded together.
Constructed and baked entirely the day before, this moussaka suffers no degradation in flavour quality or enjoyment after being reheated in the microwave. A crisp green salad dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice was the perfect accompaniment.
I’ve based this recipe on Maggie’s Beer’s Lamb Moussaka recipe from “Maggie’s Kitchen.” I’ve embellished it with extra vegetables recommended by my friend Paula in her moussaka recipe and made a few minor adjustments to suit my diet and pantry.
You’ll find a delicious vegetable moussaka recipe on my blog too. I posted that quite a while ago.
Lamb Moussaka serves 4-6
1 tablespoons of olive oil
500g minced lamb
2 teaspoons garlic infused oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup stock, I used homemade vegetable
1 cup tomato puree
2 teaspoons dried thyme
finely grated zest of a lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplants, cut into 1.5cm slices
2 medium zucchinis cut into 1.5 cm slices
2 medium sized waxy potatoes cut into 1.5cm slices and steamed.
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
1 cup of full cream milk, heated
1 cup chicken stock, heated
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried lemon thyme
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly oil 4 large ovenproof ramekins of 2 cup capacity.
Heat a saute pan, add the olive oil then crumble the lamb mince into the pan. Add the ground cinnamon and tomato paste then saute the lamb until golden. Pour off any excess fat.
Add the garlic infused oil, tomato puree, stock and lemon thyme .
Bring the pan to a high simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the lemon zest and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Char grill the sliced eggplant and zucchini slices.
Cover the base of each ramekin with potato then add a few spoons of meat sauce.
Lay the eggplant slices on top and spoon over a little more sauce. Put the zucchini slices on top then cover with remaining sauce. Set the ramekins aside.
to make the béchamel:
Melt the butter then add the flour. Cook stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes or until he flour smells toasty.
Slowly add the milk and stock stirring continuously.
Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil.
Cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the nutmeg, parmesan cheese and seasonings to taste.
Spoon the béchamel over the top of the layered meat and veg
to make the crust:
Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl then scatter on top of the béchamel. The ramekins can be chilled until need then baked for 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the crust golden then served immediately
Alternatively the moussaka can be baked immediately after it’s prepared then chilled and gently heated in the microwave when needed.