Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moussaka

Mousakka is another one of those dishes where a few countries claim it as there own. The origin of this dish is from the Middle East however it is better known in it's Greek form. All versions are based primarily on sautéed eggplant and usually with minced meat. The Greek version includes layers of meat and eggplant topped with a white sauce and baked. The Turkish Musakka is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed eggplants, green capsicum, tomatoes, onions and minced meat. The Arabian version of moussaka is a cooked salad dish, made up of tomatoes and eggplant, similar to the Italian Caponata, and is usually served cold as a mezze or antipasta dish. In the rest of the Balkans, the top layer is often a custard. Grated cheese and/or bread crumbs can be sprinkled on top depending on the recipe you are following.

Everytime we have this dish the flavour never fails to amaze me. The flavour of cinnamon, the lemon and the currants plus the meat all combined ... it is so unique and every mouthful is exciting. And my favourite thing about making Moussaka is I get to use eggplant. Eggplant is a vegetable that I adore, I love it's nuttiness especially when chargrilled. My daughter, Alex, on the otherhand HATES eggplant and will actually hone it on it and pick it out of every dish no matter how well hidden it is!!

I actually came across this recipe back in 2006. The original recipe uses chicken mince however we much prefer it with lamb mince. I have learnt to double this recipe as both Noel and Oliver will eat two serves without blinking and there is always some left over to freeze for midweek lunches.


Moussaka
(recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas June 2006)

Serves: 4
Points per serve: 6

cooking spray
2 large eggplant, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
500 grams lamb mince
1 x 400g tinned diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons currants, optional
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons low fat butter or margarine
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 2/3 cups skim milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 cup low fat grated tasty cheese

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Preheat grill. Spray eggplant with cooking spray and grill for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until browned.

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic, cinnamon and mince. Cook, breaking up the mince, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add tomatoes, currants, lemon rind and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat, pour in milk, whisking constantly. Return to heat. Cook, stirring for 5 to 8 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil. Stir in the nutmeg. Remove from heat.

Spray a large ovenproof dish (approx 5cm deep 16cm x 25cm) with cooking spray and layer half the eggplant slices into the base. Spoon over half the mince mixture. Top with remainding eggplant and then the remaining mince mixture. Pour the white sauce mixture evenly over the top of the mince mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until piping hot. Allow to stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.

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3 comments:

Donna-FFW said...

This version sounds fantastic and it certainly looks delicious!

ARLENE said...

I love moussaka, though I don't eat lamb. I didn't eat eggplant as a child, but adore it now. There's still hope for your daughter. Great looking dish. Will bookmark this recipe for sure.

finsmom said...

This looks like a really tasy version! Thanks for sharing!