Loaded Classic Moussaka
Sorry this recipe took so long to come! I couldn't focus on A N Y T H I N G with the US Elections going on. The second they called Pennsylvania this morning, I ran to the beach blasting Taylor Swift, ran back, breathed a sigh of major relief, and felt ready to get on with my s***. I have two theory exams next week (bad timing because I haven't even looked at my revision since Tuesday) that I can also get back to studying for. And of course, I now have the ability to focus on creating recipes as well!
This one is just so moorish (I say that about all comfort food) and ridiculously delicious. I am such a sucker for Greek food, even when it's done poorly it's good and that's saying something. So pop this in the oven, make a greek salad, grab a shot of ouzo, and get celebrating because today is a good day.
If you are using fresh herbs you will need A LOT. The flavour gets really dulled amongst the other ingredients otherwise.
You can use quorn mince in this to make it vegetarian, it'll be (almost) as tasty!
Check the components throughout cooking! This recipe can become very bland if you don't put enough herbs in it, so continually taste test to see if more salt, pepper, thyme, or oregano is needed.
3-4 medium sized potatoes, sliced into 1cm thick rounds (skin on or off)
2 medium-large eggplants, sliced into 0.75cm thick rounds
2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
3 tablespoons of a mild oil (olive, rice bran, or canola all work)
2 white onions, one thinly sliced, one diced
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
500 grams of lamb (or beef) mince
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
400g canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried thyme or 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Fresh parsley (for serving)
Fresh basil (for serving)
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
7 tablespoons of flour
700 ml of whole milk
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of Parmesan
1 egg yolk
Place your eggplant rounds in a colander or sieve in one layer and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top. Then repeat with the rest of the rounds. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes.
Repeat the sweating process with the zucchini rounds (only need to sweet for 10 or so minutes).
Pat the eggplant and zucchini dry using a paper towel.
If using an oven to cook the eggplant - preheat to 240℃. Lay the eggplant rounds on a lined baking tray and brush them with oil. Bake them for 15-20 minutes or until light brown and soft.
If using a frying pan to cook the eggplant - add 1-2 tablespoons of oil into a deep frying pan on a medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant until completely softened and slightly browned.
Remove the eggplant and set aside.
Fry the zucchini in 1/2 a tablespoon of oil until lightly browned.
In the same frying pan, turn down to a medium-high heat and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add in your diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add in a large pinch of salt and pepper, the sugar, thyme, oregano, and garlic. Sauté for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add in your mince and sauté until browned. Then add in your tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes then reduce heat to low. Add in your bay leaf and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile make your bechamel sauce.
Place a pot over a medium heat. Add in your butter. Once melted, sift in your flour and whisk for 1 minute.
Stirring constantly, slowly add in your milk. Leave for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick.
Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan, nutmeg, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes then whisk in the egg and egg yolk.
Assembly of Moussaka
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Add in 1/4 cup of bechamel sauce to the mince mixture.
Time to layer your Moussaka! In a large, deep, baking dish (approx. 25cm x 30cm), place half of your potato rounds on the bottom of the dish. Layer on top, half of your eggplant rounds. Layer half of the zucchini on top of the eggplant. Pour half of your mince mixture over the top of the zucchini. Repeat the layering process (potato, eggplant, zucchini, mince). Pour your bechamel on top and put the moussaka in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
When taken out of the oven, leave to rest for 10 minutes. Then serve with fresh basil leaves and fresh parsley.