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Moussaka

by George Kontakos on June 05, 2020

 

One of the most traditional Greek staples, it has many variations, we feel that ours is the most faithful to the original recipe as published in Greek Cookery(1956) by the most influential Greek Chef, Nikolaos Tselementes. Contrary to popular perception been mince is used as opposed to lamb mince. Of course you can try it with any kind of mince and see how you personally prefer it.

Intro

Preparation time: 40 minutes | Cooking time: approx. 1 ½ hours | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the vegetables:

3 large potatoes

3 aubergines

50ml white vinegar

150g plain flour

For the Bolognese:

1 small carrot

1 small leek

1 large red onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 kg beef mince (20% fat)

50ml extra-virgin olive oil

150g tomato paste

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

½ tsp oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the béchamel:

2 litres full-fat fresh milk

1 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper, to taste

150g salted butter

200g plain flour 

Method

For the vegetables

Peel and slice the potatoes into rings approximately 1cm thick. Keep the skin on the aubergines and slice them the same size. Place the aubergine slices in a large bowl and cover with cold water and the white vinegar. This is to take away the bitter taste from the aubergines; they need to soak for 20 minutes. Fry the potatoes at 120°c until they are soft and golden in colour. Dust the aubergines with plain flour and fry at 180°c until they are soft and crunchy. Place all the potato and aubergine slices on kitchen towel to soak up excess oil.

For the Bolognese

Finely chop the carrot, leek, onion and garlic. Add the beef mince to a saucepan with the olive oil on a medium heat until it is cooked through. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste, all the seasonings and 1 glass of water. Leave the Bolognese to simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.

 

For the béchamel

Warm the milk in a saucepan on a low heat with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Do not bring to boil. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and slowly add the flour while consistently stirring until the roux becomes golden in colour. Add the roux to the milk and continue stirring it until the béchamel is thick.

 

To build the moussaka

You will need a 5cm deep baking tray. Start by adding three tablespoons of Bolognese sauce to the tray, then a layer of potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper, then a layer of cooked aubergine. Add the remaining Bolognese, then the béchamel sauce. Bake the moussaka at 180°c in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.

 

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