Tasty Tuesday

Moussaka

Cle-ann Stampolidis
Tuesday 26th May 2015

SO sad to say goodbye to Cle-ann Stampolidis today, the month has flown by too quickly!

Today Cle-ann leaves us with another classic Greek favourite – moussaka!  This version is made in individual terracotta dishes, which means it’s super easy to prepare and serve straight from the oven.

Massive thanks to Cle-ann for sharing her culinary skills with us all this month. For more of her fab recipes do keep your eye on her blog!

Like all great food, Moussaka brings people together, and in my family, celebrations have always revolved around a table of food including this classic Greek dish. ​Big ​trays of moussaka, meat, pita and sweets, like baklava. They would be cooking for days in preparation ­to cater for a familial army.

Mum and Yaya taught me the basics of cooking. Their recipe for moussaka always yielded a HUGE tray which fed the whole family for days, and when the winter months arrive, I still turn to moussaka as a comfort food. This version is scaled down a bit though, as my fridge can only accommodate so much!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the meat sauce

  • Big splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 500g lean beef or lamb (I like a combination of both), minced
  • 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 400g fresh or canned tomatoes, diced

For the eggplant

  • 3 medium eggplants, slice 1/2 cm thick
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
  • Pinch of Murray River salt flakes

For the white sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain (or gluten free) flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 130g kefalotyri cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of Murray River salt flakes
  • Ground black pepper

Method

Pop a medium saucepan over a low­ medium heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add minced meat and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon. Cook until meat is sticking to the bottom on the saucepan.

Add all remaining ingredients for the meat sauce, stir and reduce heat to low, simmer covered for 30 minutes (add a little water if it’s too dry), while you make everything else.

Brush eggplant with olive oil, heat a pan (or griddle) and cook on each side until browned on both sides.

Preheat oven to 180 ​degrees celsius.

Brush 4 x 140mm round oven-safe ramekins with olive oil. Cover base of ramekins with eggplant, overlapping slightly. Then add meat sauce. Pour over meat sauce, if it’s thick, spread it over using your spoon, being careful not.

To make the white sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add flour, reduce heat and stir for a minute. Add milk and stir until thick. Add cheese, nutmeg and season, stirring for a minute until the cheese is melted. Pour this on top of each individual moussaka.

Bake for 30­-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve them piping hot (no need to let these guys set because they’re in they’re own ramekins!).

Traditional Greek coffee – super rich and delicious with some Greek biscuits. All props Cle-ann’s own. Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – Nat Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.


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