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Sunday, 30 September 2012

GREEK MOUSSAKA

Good Morning to you,

The skies are very dark and the clouds look thunderous. The wind is howling outside and the rain is bouncing off the pavements.  The weatherman says the wind and rain is set to remain for the rest of the day and could actually continue for the next couple of days.  I am lucky because today, I am in my warm and cosy  kitchen, so I have decided to ignore the horrible weather and make the Moussaka I promised you I would make.

First things first, a  cappuccino is in order, then I will organise  the ingredients  and finally I will find some good music to listen to whilst cooking.  Once this is done, I am well and truly ready to start making Moussaka.



  
 THE INGREDIENTS


PLUS

Cinnamon 


PLUS 

1 additional aubergine (total 3 aubergines used)


2-3 large aubergines (I needed to use 3)
 2 medium sized onions
2 to 3 cloves of garlic (depends on your taste)
olive oil
1kg minced lamb
1 1/2 glasses of red wine (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 400g tin of tomatoes (chopped)
or if you prefer use fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 pint of water

1 x 12" by 9"  dish that can be used in the oven




Top and tail the aubergines then  slice the aubergines length ways.

Brush both sides of the aubergines with olive oil and place in a dry pan. Cook until brown on both sides.




 Remove from the pan and set aside until needed




 Cook the lamb mince until the pinkness has gone, then remove from the pan into a dish and set aside until needed.


 Place two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent.

Add the grated garlic, oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes

Add the cooked lamb mince back into the pan, a little at a time, to allow  all the ingredients to be incorporated.

Add the cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir well.



 Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree,  red wine, sugar and water to the meat mixture and stir again. Bring to a simmer,  place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about 50 - 60 minutes. Check for seasoning, if more is needed add now and stir. You want the consistency to be quite thick, with very little liquid, so if you still have a lot of liquid left after 50 minutes, remove the lid and  increase the heat to allow the liquid to evaporate.  Stir occasionally, when you reach the required thick consistency, remove from the heat  and set aside.

THE INGREDIENTS FOR 
THE 
CHEESE SAUCE 



 75 g  butter
75 g  flour
750 ml of milk
75 g grated Kephalotiri Cheese
 (if you are unable to buy this Greek cheese, Parmesan  mixed with a little cheddar cheese is a good substitute)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
sea salt and  black pepper 


 Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Keep stirring and allow the mixture to cook for about a minute. This is to make sure the flour is thoroughly cooked.  Add the milk and whisk vigorously with a balloon whisk.  I find the white sauce does not turn lumpy as long as you keep whisking.  Takes a little while, but persevere and you will have a luscious thick white sauce.

Remove from the heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper, keep mixing until the cheese has melted. Check the seasoning, again if more is needed add now and stir for a minute or so. 



Allow the sauce to cool a little, I would say about 3 minutes. Whisk the eggs and slowly pour them into the mixture,  beating to  fully incorporate the eggs.   Make sure your sauce is not too hot, otherwise your eggs will scramble. 

  

You will now have a rich, creamy sauce. 




 Using Olive oil, brush the baking dish. Place a layer of aubergines at the bottom of the dish, then add the meat sauce on top of the aubergines.

Continue layering in this manner. I found I had a couple of sliced aubergines over, I did not want to waste them so I added them to the final layer of meat sauce.

   



Pour the white sauce over the meat mixture, making sure the meat is entirely covered. 

Bake at 140 C  for 50-60 minutes until golden brown.

Ovens do vary and I found  this took 45 minutes in my oven.
  

There is the option to add another layer to this dish, by using sliced potatoes. 

Par-boil your potatoes and allow to cool as this makes the potatoes easier to slice. Slice the potatoes the same thickness as the aubergines. Then alternate the layers, aubergines, meat mixture, then  potatoes.

If you decide to add potatoes, then don't allow the meat mixture to be too thick in consistency, leave some liquid, as the extra liquid will allow the par-boiled potatoes to fully cook when baking the Moussaka in the oven.
I hope you try this recipe.  It does take a little time, but believe me it is worth it.  Just a thought, if you are short of time, you could cook the meat mixture one day, then the aubergines and potatoes and cheese sauce the following day.

So, Dimi, what do you think, I would love to know.

This week I shall be joining,

Yvonne from StoneGable for On the Menu Monday 
Alli for Throwback Thursday 
  
Have a lovely week and I will see you later.  Take care until then.

Best Wishes
Daphne xx

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