Monday, 4 July 2011

Moussaka from George's mother



As most of you know, I am on the "Masterchef" journey. This recipe was demonstrated by George Calombaris's mother. I have changed things slightly because I didn't have all the ingredients, it was yummy for a warm winter evening!

Vegetables
3 eggplants, sliced 5mm thick (if you don't like eggplant, try any other combination of vegetables, like zucchini.) George's mother left stripes of skin on her eggplants to make sure the people eating knew what they were, but we found the skin a bit tough so would leave it off next time. If you use eggplant, remember to slice, sprinkle liberally with salt, leave to sweat for 1/2 hour, then pat dry.
4 large potatoes, sliced 5mm thick

Tomato Sauce
500g mince
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
2 cinnamon quills (we used a sprinkle of ground)
250g crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cups water
Olive oil, for frying


Bechamel
60g butter
60g plain flour
600ml milk, warmed
100g keflagraviera (we used parmasen) cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
Extra cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C.

2. Heat oil in a large frying pan or saucepan, add mince and cook until browned and meat breaks up. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add garlic, oregano, lemon thyme, rosemary and cinnamon and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and water, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for ½ hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Pour oil into a frying pan approximately 1cm deep, place over a high heat and shallow fry potatoes for 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender. Drain on paper towel.

5. Pat dry eggplant (or vegetable) and pan fry on each side until golden yet still firm. Drain on paper towel.

6. For béchamel, melt butter in a heavy based saucepan. Add flour, stir over a low heat for 2 minutes.

7. Slowly add warm milk, stirring continuously until thick. Add extra milk if sauce is to thick.

8. Whisk in cheese and an egg yolk, season to taste.

9.. To assemble, oil casserole dish and layer as follows. Meat sauce, potato, sauce, potato, sauce, eggplant, sauce, potato, eggplant and remaining sauce. Cover with béchamel and grate extra cheese over.

10. Bake for 45 minutes until browned and béchamel has set. Serve.

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