M as Moussaka

Moussaka recipe by our ambassador Haalo:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 potatoes, peeled
  • Meat Filling:
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
    • 300 grams mix of pork and beef mince
    • ground cinnamon
    • dried oregano
    • white wine
    • 1 cup tomato passata
    • approx Béchamel Sauce
    • 25 grams butter
    • 25 grams cornflour
    • 1½ cups milk
    • 25 grams kefalotyri cheese, grated
    • 1 egg yolk
Prepare the eggplant:
It's more traditional to slice the eggplants lengthways but due to the size of my dish I've sliced it into rounds. Top and tail the eggplant and then cut evenly into 5mm thick slices. If you find your eggplants are usually bitter you should salt the slices at this stage for about 30 minutes otherwise just skip this step. Fry the eggplant in olive oil until golden and soft - beware eggplant is a sponge when it comes to oil so once cooked drain them on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Prepare the potatoes: 
Slice the potatoes into 2mm thick slices - steam them until just tender. Drain and then pat dry. Fry these slices in the same oil as the eggplant until golden. Once again, place on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Make the filling: 
Sauté the onion in a little oil until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for a minute. Crumble in the minced meat and cook until the meat has browned evenly. Add in a little dried oregano, a sprinkle of cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine and once it has evaporated stir in the passata. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The filling should be thick but not too dry.

Make the béchamel: 
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat - whisk in the cornflour to form a smooth paste and then slowly pour in half of the milk, whisking constantly to ensure a smooth mixture. Once this has thickened, add the rest of the milk and continue stirring. Once the flour has cooked out and the sauce is thick, stir in the Kefalotyri cheese and adjust the seasoning to taste. Once cooled, whisk in an egg yolk. If you are making this in advance add the egg yolk when you are ready to assemble the dish.

Assemble the moussaka:
Lay half the potato slices over the base of a baking dish. Cover this with half of the eggplant slices. Follow this with an even layer of meat. Repeat the layering, ending once more with meat. Top with a thick layer of béchamel and sprinkle over with a little extra kefalotyri cheese.
Place the baking dish on a tray to catch any spills and bake in a preheated 170°C oven until golden and heated through - about 40 to 50 minutes. Let it cool slightly in the pan before slicing - you can also serve it at room temperature. For a traditional look, serve it cut into square pieces. 

In our cooking trip around the European Community countries, Moussaka represents Cyprus:
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and north of Egypt.

Recipes from Cyprus in Culinary ABC (in alphabetic order):

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