Eight Bells

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Sunday, October 26, 2008


There are many different recipes for Moussaka and arguments about what is traditional and what is not could go on for hours. This recipe takes the best of two good Moussaka recipes, one more traditional the other vegetarian to come up with a dish that is really tasty and quite traditional. Serves 4-6.
Apologies for the lack of posts recently but school is nearly finished for the year and with more free time I expect to be posting at least once a week again soon.

500g of minced beef or lamb
2 onions, finely diced
3 sage leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves, whole
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
6 sprigs of oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
Italian flat leafed parsley (about 1/4 cup), chopped
Salt and pepper
Two tins of tomatoes
1 small tin of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
150 ml of red wine
6 medium sized potatoes
1 large eggplant

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or pot. Add onions and cook until soft, add mince and brown well (remember, brown=flavour). Add garlic and cook for five minutes then add tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, wine salt and pepper, herbs, cinnamon and stock. Mix well and simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally. After 30-40 minutes, taste, season again if necessary and remove the bay leaves. Remove from the heat.

Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/2 cm slices, parboil, drain and cool. Parboiling just means partially cooking something in order to finish cooking it later. In this case emerse the potatoes in boiling water for five minutes (no longer than five minutes or they will completely cook and start to fall apart)

Slice the eggplant into 1 cm slices and poach in boiling water for five minutes, drain and cool. Poaching the eggplant prevents it from absorbing oil later and this helps it to keep its shape.

Custard (the bit that goes on top of the Moussaka)

Bring 3/4 of a cup of milk to simmer with one whole bay leaf. Simmer gently to infuse for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf and set the milk aside to cool.

200ml greek yoghurt
1/3 of a cup of flour
1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder
Cooled infused milk
salt and pepper
3 eggs
1 cup of grated cheese (to sprinkle on top of the custard once you have poured it over the Moussaka)

Whisk the eggs and yoghurt together in a large bowl. Add cooled milk (so the eggs don't cook) and dry ingredients (not the cheese), mix together until smooth.

Moussaka assembly
Spray your dish with oil
Place the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the dish followed by the eggplant and the meat sauce. Cover with the custard, sprinkle grated cheese on top and cook in the oven at 180C for 40-50 minutes. Cover with foil if it starts to burn on top. Let the dish rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.