So as you all know my Husband is Greek and we can never forget that, as his influence is slowly creeping into all my dishes. This is not a disaster though, as Greek cuisine is delicious. So i set out to make something that is very traditional but with a modern style of presentation. I have a thing with presentation, and when i manage get it right, it makes all the difference. For me, moussaka, is fried aubergines, in a spicy tomato and garlic sauce. This is the way we eat it in Middle eastern countries, but in Greece, there is the addition of lamb and bechamel sauce. YUMM!
So i had my husband, his cousin and my business partner over for dinner and as i was feeding 3 Greeks this was a challenge, as a) i have never had moussaka and b)i didn't want to disappoint.
So Christina gave me a few tips on making this and i just followed her instructions adding my own touches here and there. So this is made in 3 steps, but you can multi task and make them all at the same time otherwise you will be here for hours...Well OK, not hours, but for a while...!
500g Minced lamb
5 fresh tomatoes
1 large onions diced
1 Tablespoon Tomato pureé
2 teaspoons of sugar
salt to taste and black pepper
2 medium aubergine sliced in rings
75 g butter
75 g flour
175ml milk (plus extra if you like bechamel thinner)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
- First slice your aubergines in rings about 1 cm thick.
- Heat enough oil in a pot to be able to fry them. Place them in 2-3 at a time till they have gone golden brown.
- Leave them on a paper towel to soak up any excess fat.
- For the meat sauce, cut your onion into a small dice and using some vegetable oil begin to sauteé it till soft.
- Add your cubed tomatoes and tomato pureé and season with salt, black pepper and sugar.
- Add your mince and begin pan fry it. Usually i would say to brown the meat first and then add the tomatoes but this way, the meat soaks up the tomato sauce while it is browning and make all the difference.
- Let the meat and tomato marinate together till you are ready to assemble.
- For the bechamel, melt the butter, and the add the flour.
- Add the milk after you have combined the above and cooked it off for a minute or two. Begin pouring the milk slowly at first to combine the ingredient and so mot to create lumps, and once you see it start to combine you can add faster. If you want it thinner just add more milk.
- You can now add some salt, pepper and the nutmeg to season it.
- Get a tray,a pie dish, whatever you want to serve this in and begin piling up.
- Begin with aubergine, then meat, then bechamel and then start again. Once it is all assembled place it in a hot oven to brown the to.
(I served mine in little pouches of parchment paper and tied with string just for a change from the typical look of how moussaka is served. You can do it too... Great for a dinner party)
So now for the verdict: they all said that it was as if they were eating their mothers Moussaka. How amazing is that. Honestly i felt so good to know that something so traditional was created in my kitchen and loved by all who ate it. This is one to make over and over.
My husband and i just woke up and first thing he said was "Can you please make moussaka again, Please?"