Tag Archives: moussaka

My Big Fat Greek Moussaka

Sometimes you’ve got to have a big cheesy sauce topped, rich red wine sauce soaked moussaka to end your day. I love it, and make it with aubergines and potatoes. And an enriched bechamel sauce.

The Greek moussaka is traditionally a layered dish comprising of aubergine, a tomato sauce based meat layer, and a cheesy sauce topping (my enriched bechamel). And as I’ve said before in a previous moussaka post (yes- it’s so good I’ve written a second recipe), the turkish version is NOT layered.  But equally as good.

As a dinner offering, this one is quite labour intensive. The aubergines need to be sliced and cooked, the potatoes need to be peeled and par boiled, the mince and tomato sauce needs a long slow cooking time, and the sauce needs last minute assembly.  So not your jamie-oliver-15-minute-meal really.  But worth it.  Trust me.

 

My Big Fat Greek Moussaka

Ingredients:

1 aubergine, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons of olive oil (preferably greek!)

500g good quality minced beef

1 tin of tomatoes

½ bottle of red wine

1 bay leaf

300g potatoes

25g butter, melted

25g flour

250ml of full fat milk

200g of grated cheddar cheese, a vintage one is preferable

1 egg yolk

Seasoning
Moussaka

Method:

Aubergine Layer:

Using 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, oil a roasting tray. Preheat the oven to 1800C.  Thinly slice the aubergine and lay the slices on the tray.  Roast for about 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Meat Layer:

Add the remaining olive oil to a heavy based saucepan and heat gently.  Brown the minced beef very slowly.  Season well.  Add the tinned tomatoes, the bay leaf and the wine.  Cook very, very slowly over a very low heat for at least two hours, cover the saucepan partially to prevent too much moisture escaping.  Set aside.

Potato Layer:

Peel and place the potatoes in a pot of cold salted water.  Cover and bring to the boil.  The potatoes can be left over ones, and you can slice the uncooked potatoes before you boil them, if it’s easier.  Bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes until half cooked.  Drain and set aside.

When you are ready to assemble, melt the butter, add the flour and stir continuously over a medium heat for one minute to cook the flour out.  Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened.  Remove from the heat, add and add half the grated cheese.  Stir in the egg yolk just prior to adding the sauce to the dish.

 

 

Moussaka

Grease the baking dish, add a layer of potatoes, then a layer of aubergines, then add the mince (remove the bay leaf first).  Repeat the layers on top, and add the béchamel sauce.  Add the rest of the grated cheese, and bake for 30 minutes.

Moussaka

For extra carb loading serve with a baked potato and some green beans. Divine.

Moussaka

 

Moussaka. Plain and Simple.

The dish moussaka means many things to many people.  In fact the word itself is derived from an Arabic word meaning “chilled”.

The Finished Moussaka

The Finished Moussaka

Most versions, mine included, are based on aubergine layers with tomato and minced meat.  And the Greek dish is now most popular with a béchamel sauce on top, like a savoury custard.

Although a little time consuming, I really enjoy making it.  I start by sautéeing the onions very gently until opaque, adding the tomatoes (tinned unless very ripe- and in season), and cooking slowly with some thyme until slightly thick and very tasty.  At the same time I peel some potatoes and cook them in plenty of boiling salty water until just cooked.  Then slice them intl 5mm slices.

onions for dicing

onions for dicing

Then I fry slices of aubergine in a hot pan with lots of good quality olive oil until well cooked and golden.  This step is very important as they are not nice if not cooked through.

Aubergines on the pan

Aubergines on the pan

When the aubergines are cooked I use the same pan to cook the mince, ensuring I crumble the meat strands into the hot pan very carefully, to make sure it is cooked thoroughly and not in clumps.  Slowly slowly is the way to go way with this.  The demo in Ballymaloe where Rory showed us how to make the best ragu sauce, was where I picked up this technique.  Then add the meat to the tomato sauce.

Ragu sauce combined.

Ragu sauce combined.

Last but not least is the enriched béchamel sauce; melted butter, added equal volume of flour when the butter is foaming.  Once the flour has cooked out, I add the milk slowly and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until it has bubbled gently for a couple of minutes.  Once I’ve seasoned the sauce, I stir in 2 egg yolks and a handful of grated Gruyère.

Moussaka prep

Moussaka prep

I put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of a deep oven proof dish.  Then some béchamel sauce, next comes the ragu, a final layer of potatoes and finally the aubergines.  This is then covered with the rest of the enriched sauce, and put in a hot oven until golden brown on top and bubbling.

Moussaka going into the oven

Moussaka going into the oven

A green salad is enough accompaniment to this, with a glass of Beaujolais.

The main course was quite time consuming, so for dessert I whipped up some cream, crushed meringue into it, folded in 2 sliced bananas and a couple of tablespoons of butterscotch sauce that I had in the fridge.

Meringue dessert

Meringue dessert