Moussaka with Mushroom


Traditionally, Moussaka is a dish made up of alternate layers of aubergine and a meat ragoût which is topped off with Béchamel sauce and baked. Everyone knows a good idea when they see one, and Moussaka and its many cousins, of which there are umpteen, are a really good idea. This cousin substitutes mushrooms for aubergines, and very successfully, too. I have cut down the meat by half, as Ruth is on a diet and reduce her intake of red meat.



¼ cup olive oil.

250g minced beef [or lamb, or chicken].

1 large onion, finely diced.

2 tsp. ground cinnamon.

1 tsp. ground allspice.

Salt and pepper to taste.

½ cup red wine.

2 tblsp plain flour.

1 cup passata.

¼ cup tomato paste.

2 tblsp rubbed origanum.

40g Butter.

400g mushrooms, sliced.

3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced.

1 ½ cups white sauce.

½ cup grated parmesan cheese.



Heat the oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat all over. Add the onion and stir fry until softened cinnamon, then add the spices and the salt. And the wine, stir through, bring to the boil, and cook until the liquor is reduced to a syrupy consistency. Add the flour, stir through, then add the tomato and tomato paste. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the butter in a pan of a medium flame, add the mushrooms and garlic and sweat until the mushrooms are done. Prepare the white sauce.



Preheat the oven to 180°C. To build the Moussaka, lightly oil a baking dish and place a layer of mushrooms at the bottom. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese, cover that with half the ragoût, then cover that with half the white sauce. Add the rest of the mushroom slices and a little more cheese, then the rest of the ragout. Sprinkle the ragoût with the rest of the origanum, then the rest of the white sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes [this makes it easier to cut up].


Serve with: A serve with a crisp green salad.


Serves: 2.

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