Sunday, 18 October 2015

How to cook perfect moussaka.

How to cook perfect moussaka | Life and style | The Guardian
Serves 4, generously

4 tbsp olive oil
3 medium or 2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
2 tbsp tomato purée, mixed with 150ml water
150ml red wine
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the bechamel:
500ml milk
60g butter
60g plain flour
50g kefalotyri or pecorino cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
Nutmeg, to grate

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Cut the aubergines lengthways into 0.5cm slices, and put them on to oiled baking sheets.
Brush with olive oil and season.
Bake for about 25 minutes until soft, golden and floppy.
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - Hugh's baked aubergines, then, are a godsend: no need to salt them, as he does – simply brush with oil and stick in the already-heating oven for 25 minutes until soft, but pleasantly light on the grease front.

2. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion until soft.
Add the garlic, cinnamon and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes, then stir in the lamb.
Turn up the heat slightly, and brown the lamb well, cooking until the mixture is quite dry.
Stir in the tomato and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30–40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Season and stir in the parsley.

3. Meanwhile, make the bechamel.
Bring the milk to just below boiling point, and melt the butter in another saucepan.
Stir the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk.
Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheese until melted.
Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt to taste and slightly more nutmeg than you might think wise (it's a strong flavour, but you need a heft of it in this dish I think - half a teaspoon at least).

Just like it’s important to have a thick mince sauce, it’s crucial to have a thick and smooth béchamel.
Thick so it won’t slide through your layers of mince and aubergine and burn at the bottom of tray with your mousaka dish and smooth, well who wants lumps of flour balls in their mouth?

4. Arrange a third of the aubergines in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat.
Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of aubergine, and top with the sauce.
Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool for half an hour before serving.

What kind of moussaka floats your pedalo – does the Greek version have the monopoly here for good reason?
Where do you stand on the question of beef v lamb ... or do you prefer vegetables?
And which other dishes have you brought back from your hols?

If we are cooking a dish like mousaka, we might as well get it right, with all its glory and forget about the health aspects for just this once.)))

- Mousaka making at the Greek Cookery Class | Greekfoodlovers' Supper Club
- the cake + the knife, a love story: Tessa's Moussaka for Dan.

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