Moussaka

Moussaka… if I wanted your opinion I would’ve asked ya.

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But seriously, I would love for you to offer me an opinion on my moussaka. Unless of course you are one of those people who waits feverishly for the next season of Masterchef and considers every opinion offered on the show to be gospel and subsequently offers that new gospel-according-to-masterchef opinion to every chef that has the total displeasure of cooking for you.

I do not love Masterchef. It has created way too many over night experts for my liking…

On the other hand though (yes, I have two hands. Just like the movie of the same name) I do love moussaka. The first time I tried it was at my friend Kat’s Greek restaurant and I’ve been hooked ever since. The only mistake I made was calling it mouss-a-ka, when (it was pointed out to me) it is clearly pronounced MOUSS-AAAKA.

Get some colour on that eggplant. And make sure it's cooked for goodness sake. Unbder-cooked eggplant is not cool
Get some colour on that eggplant. And make sure it’s cooked for goodness sake. Under-cooked eggplant is not cool
Cook the mince and other things
Cook the mince and other things
If Sammy aka "Sammy the Gelfling" is abourt put her to work layering the moussaka
If Sammy aka “Sammy the Gelfling” is about, put her to work layering the moussaka
Put the cheese on there Sammy
Put the cheese on there Sammy

 

...and into my belly
Out of the oven and into my belly. I like to drizzle mine with good olive oil and then use crusty bread to soak up the extra moussaka flavoured oil

If you are a vegetarian, or having a meat free Monday or some other crazy business is going on in your head and stops you from consuming lamb, du puy lentils are a fine substitute for meat. There are probably heaps of other mental things you could put in there, but lentils suit me just fine.

Lamb moussaka
1kg lamb mince
2 brown onion, diced
6-10 cloves garlic (I like heaps), chopped
4x 400g tinned crushed tomato or passata or make up the quantity with some ripe tomatoes if you have heaps sitting around
1 tspn dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 eggplant, sliced into 1cm disks and grilled or pan fried with a little oil
500g potato, sliced into 1cm disks and par cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes
béchamel sauce
today I had some fresh pecorino, so that got grated for the top
• Cook lamb mince in a good splash of olive oil until it starts to brown up a bit and smell lovely
• Add onions and garlic and cook out for another 10 minutes
• Add all other ingredients and cook out for 20 minutes
• Check seasoning
• Time to get this lamb-y goodness into a baking dish
• First a layer of the potatoes, then half the mince sauce, then the eggplant, then the rest of the mince sauce, then a 1-2cm layer of béchamel depending on your wants and needs as a consumer, then the grated fresh sheep’s cheese
• Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until it starts to bubble up at the sides and get a little bit crusty aka. Sexy
• Eat it, smash plates and revel in the fact that you are a beautiful Greek goddess. Unless you are not a beautiful Greek goddess in which case it may be time to leave

Béchamel sauce
For my béchamel sauce I generally go for the 1:1:10 rule. 1 part butter, 1 part plain flour, 10 parts milk or liquid.
½ cup butter
½ cup plain flour
1.25lt milk
a couple of gratings of fresh nutmeg
• Melt butter over a medium heat
• Add flour and cook out for 5 minutes, stirring constantly
• Add all but 1 cup of milk* and stir (This mix will thicken as it heats through), keep stirring
• As it thickens it should start to smooth out in consistency. If it doesn’t, grab your trusty whisk and give it some
• Once the béchamel is smooth as a velvet baby’s bottom add nutmeg and season to taste
• Nice work. Now you have a base for all sorts of white-saucy goodness… that is not your bed… that’s different type of base fool

*we’ll hold a bit back for Justin… just-in case

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8 thoughts on “Moussaka

  1. Oh my gosh. Moussaka (however you pronounce it) is one of my favourite things, ever. EVER. I love the idea of drizzling it with olive oil. Never thought of doing that, but it definitely makes sense when using bread to scrape up all of the tasty deliciousness off the plate. Great post. And yes, I agree re Masterchef. Too many arrogant cheflings have been born since that show started… a few in my immediate circle. They drive me insane.

  2. Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve never made moussaka? It’s true, I’ve never made it but I love it and this looks the bloody business! Your recipe is spot on and is just like my mum’s, except she would grate kefalograviera (if you’re going to make greek food, use Greek cheese!) – awesome work and I might just get around to putting this on the menu this week. 🙂

      1. Always happy to comment on my number one favourite blog 🙂

        PS: I HATE Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules – too many wankers! – except I am eagerly awaiting ‘The Taste’ with Nigella and Mr. Bourdain – that will be awesome! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. I’m one of those people who hated eggplant. In my experience, eggplant is bitter, slimy and drowned in a puddle of oil. But over the last few months, I’ve revisited eggplant and eaten a few delicious examples. I wouldn’t say I love eggplant, but I’m not so scared of it anymore. I have decided it’s not eggplant that I dislike but the cook’s skills or the recipe.

    I’ve tried moussaka before and I think ended up eating around the eggplant. I have to wonder, would moussaka be just as good, if not better without the eggplant? It seems to unnecessarily ruin some perfectly delicious lamb dish.

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