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Spiced Beef Moussaka

March 15, 2007

My Dad used to make Moussaka for us when our Mum was away, and I remember really liking the mince and cheese sauce, with golden, melted cheese on top. 

Making this particular Moussaka was an epic, but it was definitely worth it – it was one of the tastiest meals I have made for ages. I chose beef because I prefer it to lamb, but it would work with lamb too. The beauty of this dish is the effect of the sweet spices on the mince. Mince is not normally spiced – we’re used to it with tomato or gravy. Sweet, cinnamon and nutmeg flavours really lighten the mince and bring it to life, and the small amount of tomato stands alone rather than dominating the sauce. Combined this with the soft aubergines and creamy, cheesy sauce, and it’s the perfect, most delicious meal you can eat.

Recipe for Spiced Beef Moussaka
4 aubergines
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
450g/1 lb lean minced beef
3 plum tomatoes, diced
pinch of cinnamon powder
pinch of cumin powder
1 glass of red wine
150ml/5fl oz chicken stock
200ml/7fl oz white sauce
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
100g/4oz grated Cheddar cheese
salt
freshly ground black pepper

The process that takes the longest is frying the aubergines, so get your biggest frying pan (or pans) and fry the sliced aubergines on both sides with a little olive oil. Drain on kitchen paper. 
At the same time, fry the onions and garlic in some more olive oil. After five minutes turn the heat up and add the beef to brown it, then add the tomatoes. Add a healthy pinch of cumin and cinnamon with the wine and sauté together, then add the stock gradually.
When all the aubergines are cooked, and the mince has reduced, get an ovenproof dish, make alternate layers of aubergines and mince, starting and finishing with a layer of aubergines.
Combine the white sauce with the eggs, nutmeg and seasoning, then spoon it over the top of the mince and then scatter with the grated cheese. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes at 190, until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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