Tag Archives: slow cooked

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

 

Pork Belly- a crackling type of heaven

This little piggy went to market…… and then came home with me!

Every now and then I slow cook a pork belly.  Not too often mind you, as the temptation to eat all the crackling myself is too great.  I get mine from the Premium Butcher in Carrolls Cross, as it’s cut on the bone, which gives more flavour and structure to the joint.

Monday 18 Jan 036

Pork Belly prepared for the oven

This cut is quite fatty, and benefits from a slow long cooking time to render out all that fat into flavour for the meat. I put mine on for about 4-5 hours at about 100oC.  You end up with crispy crunchy crackling and soft tender meat.  Depending on the levels available to me I sometimes throw in a glass of white wine.  Scoring the skin is alse necessary for the best result, as it seems to be critical for accessing the afore mentioned uber crackling.  Having it at room temperature before cooking also seems to help.

There are various schools of thought on starting in a cold oven, but I have never found that to make enough of a difference with pork, duck breast – yes- pork- not so much.  But if you have to set the timer on this dinner, as you won’t be home to turn the oven on, it won’t make too much of a difference over the long cooking time.

Pork Belly

The finished article

The health benefits of (good quality- grass fed) pork are numerous.  Pork is a good source of easily digestible iron, with 100g providing you with 15% of the average daily requirement. (Bord Bia). Many people also find red meat hard to stomach if unwell, pork is easier to digest and lighter to eat.  It’s as lean as a chicken breast,

Mind you, there’s not many health benefits, I’m sure to eating crackling, except the positive endorphins that result from such a guilty pleasure!