Thursday, 16 October 2014

Moussaka - my way!


OK all food snobs look away now......this is not a traditional moussaka! I have to admit that I don't like the flavour or texture of that dish. I often find it too sweet (sometimes to much cinnamon is added) also it can be too sloppy and the texture of over cooked potato I find just yucky. However, that all being said, I have been making different versions of it all my cooking life to try and perfect a version of this dish that will suit me & my family.

Now, we all just love the taste of aubergine (egg plant for some) and we like them served with a creamy cheese sauce so that's the toppings sorted - I'm not one for nutmeg so that's not going into the sauce!

None of us like minced lamb finding it often gritty and without flavour so I like to use chunk or shredded lamb - something we can get our teeth into!

So here's my latest recipe for this dish (it's a long one - be warned) and I am really pleased with it - it ticked all the boxes for everyone so I may have finally found our family moussaka recipe... see what you think...

Ingredients...

1 leftover leg of lamb - from the Sunday roast
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 large onion - chopped
1 green chilli
2 teaspoons ras el hanout

1 large aubergine
half pint cheese sauce
mature cheddar for grating

4 baby peppers
handful of closed cup mushrooms
2 sticks celery

Pre heat the oven to 150C/gas 2

Do you remember a few weeks ago I made greek lamb? well I didn't get a chance to make anything with the rest of the joint straight away so I threw it into the freezer. Well,last weekend I decided it was high time I had another go at moussaka and, I thought, I know lets see what we can do with the left over lamb joint in the freezer. So out It came......


Once defrosted I popped it in the base of my tagine - awaiting a sauce......


This is a very simple sauce to make but with the added spice blend it give a good complicated flavour.....

Empty the tin of chopped tomatoes into a bowl.......


Add the Ras El Hanout... this is a really complex Moroccan spice blend that you can usually buy at most supermarkets...


Then add your chopped onion and green chilli


Pour over your lamb joint....


Add a half glass of water


And pop the lid on ( you can use a casserole pot for this you don't need a tagine!) place in the oven and leave it for about 2 hours......

Whilst the lamb is cooking you can prepare and assemble all the other parts of this dish.

First off make your cheese sauce.....



Now I'm not going to give the recipe for this - I've done that before just link to my recipe here.....

Then prepare your aubergines.......


and again you can see how that's done here.......

Once you've sorted the cheese sauce and the aubergines you need to tackle the vegetables. These are to go with the lamb in the meaty base of this dish....


I used mushrooms, mix of baby peppers and some very green celery (not sure what happened to the lighting in this shot!)

Simply slice your mushrooms & peppers and cut the celery into bite size chunks.

Now your lamb should be done.....

Take it out of the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 180C/ Gas 4.

The lamb meat should be falling off the bone..


and the sauce has reduced. Take your lamb out and shred the meat using a couple of forks...

your aiming for decent size chunks here....

Now mix the remaining cooking sauce, the lamb and the chopped vegetables together and place in a baking dish....


Top with the aubergines...


and then add your cheese sauce


and top with grated cheese. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes until deep golden brown and bubbling.....yum


To serve - make a simple green salad, place the moussaka onto hot plates and grab a crusty loaf or some pitta to mop up the juices and tuck in!


As I said previously I think we have found our go to moussaka recipe it may not be traditional but it suits our family and that's whats important......have a go and let me know what you think...I'm always interested in your comments....

Phew! that was a long post!

Have a good Thursday
Lizx
 Moussaka