A good Moussaka is a thing of wonder. It’s spicy, sweet mince and luscious creamy topping is always a crowd pleaser and it is a perfect dish for a family celebration or special supper.
The traditional recipe for Moussaka can be quite complicated so we have taken any unnecessary palaver out of its creation and used a few little sneaky short cuts. Not only is this a much quicker recipe to make than the original but it is also much healthier. Always a good thing we are sure you will agree. It involves a little bit of multitasking or if you prefer you can do each stage separately. It also creates a bit of washing up but if you check out Miss Manners this month, this can be covered.
This is delicious served with a simple green salad or a traditional greek salad of tomatoes, olives, cucumber, red onions and Feta cheese.
We hope you enjoy it!
What You Need
This serves approx 6-8 and takes about 1 hour.
For the Mince
- a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
- 350g Lamb Mince
- 350g Beef Mince
- Large Onion, diced (or frozen diced onions for speed)
- Garlic clove, crushed
- 11/2 teaspoon of cumin]
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A cup of red wine
- A squeeze of tomato puree
- 2 x tins of crushed tomatoes
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Layers
- 2 aubergines, sliced
- 4 large potatoes, sliced
For the Bechemal Sauce
- 100g of butter
- x of flour
- 400ml of milk
- 1 egg yolk
- A large handful of Parmesan, grated
- A sprinkle of Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 2 tomatoes, sliced generously
Instead of frying the aubergine and potato which is the traditional way, bake them whilst you are cooking the mince both saving time and calories. Always a good thing.
What to Do
Preparing the Vegetables.
- Firstly Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Cut your potatoes and Aubergines into approx 1cm thick slices.
- Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season.
- Put the Aubergines on another lined baking sheet and again, drizzle with olive oil and season.
- Pop them in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes whilst you prepare the mince.
- After 15-20 minutes take your aubergines out of the oven.
- Turn them to ensure they are baked on both sides and pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes
- Turn your potato slices over and season. Put them back in the oven for approx another 10 minutes.
Making the Mince
- In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the mince until browned.
- Add the garlic, and diced onion and cook until the onion is soft.
- Stir in the cumin and add the cinnamon stick and additional cinnamon if using.
- Pour in the red wine, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and stir.
- Leave the mince to simmer.
- Occasionally stir your mince to make sure it doesn’t stick and that it is cooking evenly. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes on a slow simmer until the juices have evaporated and the sauce is thick and shiny.
Making the Béchamel Sauce
- Melt the butter on a low heat.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir continuously until it binds together. Continue to stir and cook for a another minute.
- Add the milk a little at a time, combining each stage to prevent lumps. Initially it will feel quite thick but as you add the milk it will thicken up into a lovely white sauce.
- When thick, remove from the heat and add the egg yolk, nutmeg and cheese. Mix together quickly until combined.
- Layer the aubergine in the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Pour over 1/2 of the meat sauce and carefully spread to the sides.
- Add another layer of aubergine and then the potato slices.
- Add the remainder of the meat sauce.
- Top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out to cover all the meat.
- Sprinkle with a mixture of grated cheese pop a slice of cut tomato into each portion.
- Bake for an hour until the crust is golden brown.