Moussaka.

Probably the best-known Greek recipe outside Greece, Moussaka is a dish made up of alternate layers of aubergine and a meat ragoût which is topped off with Béchamel sauce and baked. While Moussaka is quintessentially Greek, it is nevertheless a variation on a very widely played theme; on the other side of the Adriatic, for example, they use layers of pasta and ragoût and call it Lasagne. Everyone knows a good idea when they see one, and Moussaka and its many cousins are a really good idea. The meat sauce can be prepared in bulk and frozen in serving size pottles.

Ingredients:

¼ cup oil.

250g minced beef (or lamb).

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, finely diced

½ cup red wine

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground allspice

1 400g can crushed tomatoes.

2 tbsp. tomato paste.

2 tblsp plain flour.

½ cup chopped fresh parsley.

¼ cup oil.

1 eggplant, sliced.

3 cloves garlic, minced.

1 cup white sauce.

½ cup Kefalotyri cheese*.

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat all over, adding the salt and pepper. Add the onion, garlic, red wine, cinnamon, allspice, tomatoes, tomato paste and flour. Stir through, bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, and until reduced by about one quarter. Stir in the parsley, set aside and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the eggplant into slices about the thickness of your little finger. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over a hot flame and fry the slices with the garlic until the eggplant begins to brown. Remove and reserve.

Lightly oil a baking tin and place a layer of eggplant slices 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 eggplant slices, then the rest of the ragoût, 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] then serve with a crisp salad.

Serves: 2.

*. Or Parmesan cheese.

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