My favourite Moussaka

To date, this is the best moussaka I have ever tasted.
I am a big fan of this hearty dish, with its creamy top and its gooey eggplant layers.
This recipe comes from our well-worn Robert Carrier cookbook and is one of the simplest yet satisfying dishes to make.
Although it is Summer here in Melbourne, the weather over the weekend has been quite cool after the hotter days throughout the week.  I don't know that I could wait until the Autumn or Winter to re-visit this dish so at the slightest hint of a breeze I was buying the necessary ingredients in preparation for this flavour-packed bake.  I do love a bake.

This old favourite isn't spice heavy & there isn't a lot of fluffing around - just some patience when cooking the eggplant.  I've veered from Carrier's version a little by cutting down on the meat portion and filling any extra gaps with more mushrooms.  The more mushrooms the merrier, I say!
Jolly good, on with the show.  Here's how to make a winner of moussaka:

(Oven pre-heated to 375F or 190C)
For the filling you'll need:
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp butter/ghee or olive oil
400g mince lamb (sometimes I use beef)
3 cups mushrooms (some chopped finely, some more chunky)
1 tin of diced tomatoes OR 4-6 fresh (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Small pinch of grated nutmeg
S&P to taste
5 tbsp tomato paste / concentrate
5 tbsp rich stock (veg or beef is best)
2 large eggplants/aubergines or 5 smaller ones
Salt of your choice
Olive oil
4-6 tbsp grated parmesan

For the topping:
2 eggs
3 tbsp flour
400g plain yogurt

The first thing I like to do is slice my eggplant lengthways - about 1cm thick - salt both sides of each slice and pile them on top of one another.  This seems to help the eggplant become soft and gooey in the fry up, instead of brittle or spongy.
While the salt and eggplant to their thing, fry your onions and garlic in a large pot.  When the onion is transparent add mince meat and stir from time to time until brown.
Then add mushrooms, parsley, nutmeg, salt & pepper.  Let this cook with the occasional stir until onion is softened.
While that is on the go, dilute your tomato concentrate in the stock, adding this to the meat & veg mix.  Then add the 400g of chopped tomatoes and allow to simmer away for 10 minutes.

As the juice & flavours of the sauce meld, heat some oil & butter in a large saucepan and dust any residual salt from your eggplant slivers.  
When the oil is hot, fry each slice on both sides, remove from heat and allow to drain on absorbent paper.

Then comes the fun stacking time.  Place first a layer of eggplant on the bottom or a baking dish, like so:

Add about a third of your meat mixture, and a third of your grated parmesan.  Continue the stacking process until there is nothing left to stack.

To make the yogurt topping, beat the 2 eggs and whisk in the flour.  
Add the yogurt and whisk until creamy.  Bellissimo, basically. 
Pour over the top as evenly as possible - no slice shall be denied its share of spongy, tangy heaven.

Oh gosh, I wish I could remember how long I put this in the oven for.  Started off with 25 mins and kept my eye on it until it acquired a golden burnish.  So, maybe 30?

Whatever the timing, I guarantee it will be delicious and it goes perfectly with a simple salad.  Watch out, though, because it's a bit moreish.

Good appetite!

1 comment:

  1. I have emailed this to a friend. Friend of the moussaka. M


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