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. In India they layer rice and curry and call it Biryani. Everyone knows a good idea when they see one, and Moussaka and its many cousins are a really good idea. The correct cheese to use is Kefalotyri, but in New Zealand you would be doing well to find someone who has even heard of that, let alone stocks it for sale. The meat sauce can be prepared in bulk and frozen in serving size pottles.

 

Ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil.

500g minced lamb [chicken is good, too, and much cheaper].

Salt and pepper to taste.

1 large onion, finely diced.

2 tsp. ground cinnamon.

1 tsp. ground allspice.

½ cup red wine.

1 400g can crushed tomatoes.

¼ cup tomato paste.

2 tblsp plain flour.

2 tblsp rubbed origanum.

Another ¼ cup olive oil.

1 aubergine, sliced.

3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced.

1 ½ cups white sauce.

½ cup grated parmesan cheese.

 

Preparation.

Heat the first ¼ oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat all over, adding the salt and pepper. Add the onion, cinnamon, allspice and the wine. Stir through, bring to the boil, and cook until the liquor reduced to a syrup consistency. Add the flour, stir through, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time. Remove from the heat, stir in the origanum, set aside and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the second ¼ cup of oil in a heavy pan over a hot flame and fry the garlic until golden. Remove and reserve. Place the slices of aubergine in the pan until they begin to brown, then remove and reserve. Prepare to white sauce.

 

Method.

To build the Moussaka, lightly oil a baking dish and place a layer of eggplant slices at the bottom. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese and half the garlic. Cover that with half the ragoût, then cover that with half the white sauce. Add the rest of the eggplant slices, the rest of the garlic and a little more cheese, 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].

 

Serve with: A serve with a crisp green salad.

 

Serves: 2.

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