Moussaka (Eggplant and minced meat casserole)2017-09-22
- Servings: 2 or 3
Moussaka is a traditional Greek recipe, quite tasty and rich. It needs 3 stages: fry eggplant, simmer meat & tomato and finally cook the béchamel sauce.
In this recipe I use only eggplants but you can also add fried slices of potatoes and alternate with the fried slices of eggplants.
For a lighter version, bake the aubergine or potato slices in the oven after drizzling or spraying them with olive oil, until golden brown.
As for the minced meat, use either lamb or beef, or if you want to avoid red meat, use turkey instead.
Serve this hearty casserole with some greens and/or a green salad.
- 1 big or 2 medium size eggplants, peeled and sliced (about 1 cm thick)
- Vegetable oil (for frying the aubergine slices)
- 250g minced meat (lamb, beef or turkey)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 big onion and 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsp of tomato purée
- 1 bay leaf + oregano and thyme
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of allspice
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric (healthy supplement)
- A splash of red wine (optional)
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
- Ingredients for the béchamel: 2 cups of milk, 2 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of flour, pinch of nutmeg and 125g of grated mature Cheddar cheese, 1 organic chicken stock cube and 1/2 tsp of white pepper
Put the aubergine slices in a colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. This is done to remove any bitterness from the eggplant. When it has rendered enough liquid (about half an hour later), rinse the slices and pat them dry. Put the vegetable oil in the frying pan, on a high heat, and when really hot, fry the eggplants until golden brown. Then place them on a kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
Now, to prepare the tomato sauce, fry the minced meat in olive oil, on a medium heat, until nicely coloured, then add the onions and the garlic. When the onion is translucent, add the herbs, the spices and the tomato paste, stir fry for 1 minute before adding a splash of red wine, 1/4 of a cup of chicken stock or water and let it simmer until the sauce has thickened and the liquid has evaporated. Add the salt and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Put the sauce aside.
To prepare the béchamel sauce (white sauce), put 2 full tbsp of butter (about 35g) in a saucepan, on low heat. It should not brown. When it has melted, add 2 tbsp of flour and stir quickly until the flour has absorbed the butter and the mix is smooth. At this stage, add very slowly the milk making sure it has incorporated with the flour before adding more, and keep incorporating bit by bit, until halfway. Then, you can add larger amount of milk but keep whisking all the way. Season with the chicken stock cube, the spices and the salt then add half of the grated cheese and cook further, always whisking, until you obtain a thick and creamy sauce.
Finally, choose an ovenproof dish, butter it and start assembling the Moussaka. Put the 1st layer of eggplants on the bottom of the dish then top with a layer of meat sauce. Repeat the operation as many times as needed then pour over the white sauce, making sure it covers everything in a thick last layer. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and bake in the oven at 180C, until bubbling and golden brown.
Let the moussaka cool down a little before serving, to facilitate cutting it into pieces. Serve with some greens (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus...) and/or a green salad.