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