Friday, March 09, 2018

On the MENU this week. Moussaka

We haven't made a substantial dish for a while and, as we are getting ready to entertain, Lynne wanted to try out one of her old recipes. You should use minced lamb, but you can also use beef mince if the current price of lamb scares you to death. It is a rich dish so, usually, just accompanied by a classic Greek salad of tomato, olives, green peppers and feta. You can add sliced potatoes to make it go further, or just serve with crusty bread. If you add a little macaroni, it's called Pastitsio - from the Italian influence

Photo © Anne Zouroudi

150-175ml olive oil - 1 large onion, finely chopped - 3 garlic cloves, crushed - 900g lean minced lamb - 50ml white wine - 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes - 1 x 5cm piece cinnamon stick - handful fresh oregano leaves, preferably wild Greek oregano, chopped or 1 t dried oregano - 3 large aubergines - salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping
75g butter - 75g plain flour - 600ml milk - 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated - 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a pan; add the onions and garlic and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the mince and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes while you make everything else. Preheat your oven at 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6
Slice the stalks off the aubergines and cut them lengthways into 5mm slices. Heat a frying pan until it is hot, add one tablespoon of the oil and a layer of aubergine slices. Fry quickly until tender and lightly coloured on each side. Lift out with tongs and put a layer of them in the base of a 2.5-2.75 litre shallow ovenproof dish and season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick from the mince sauce, season to taste with some salt and pepper and spoon a layer over the top of the aubergines. Repeat the layers, seasoning each as you go. Have a mince layer on top
For the topping, melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for one minute to cook out the flour. Gradually beat in the milk; bring to the boil, stirring, and leave to simmer very gently for 10 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then. You can also make a quick roux in your microwave. Stir in the cheese and some salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly and then beat in the eggs
Pour over the topping and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden-brown and bubbling

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