I have always wanted to make Greek Moussaka. You would think being Greek my mother would have found an easy Moussaka recipe and made it for us growing up but she never did, she always said we would never like it so never bothered.
Since I moved out of home a year ago a lot has changed. And the best thing of all I am now cooking for myself which I am deliriously happy about, pity about the washing up though hahaha. My mother never liked me cooking in the kitchen. It was her domain and gave me great grief whenever I tried to cook anything which I really resent her for hmpf!
Anyway I am ecstatic now that I am cooking and finally came across a recipe that seems easy enough so gave it a try, most important of all it's lactose free! No Bechamel sauce on top and you are not missing out at all! It still tastes divine.
A few things I noticed:
Firstly - the recipe says minced lamb and I used beef! It still came out tasting delicious.
Second - It says to cook for 1 ½ hours on the stove and to stir occasionally. It started out like this but within 10 minutes the mixture dried up and started burning! So then I had to stand by the stove top and pour in about 1/4 cup of water alternating with some good splashes of wine to keep this thirsty meal quenched.
Thirdly - It says to cook for 1 ½ hours but I was exhausted and hungry so cut it back to 1 hr. I think even this is excessive. If I ever cook this again which I doubt, I will only cook it for 30 minutes on the stove top and about 15-20 minutes in the oven. The cooking time specified it excessive.
Fourth - This did turn out really oily. Try not to put in too much oil. The oil suggested is not enough especially when you are frying the eggplant and zucchini. I did this in batches and a few tablespoons of oil is not enough.
Lactose Free Jamie Oliver Lamb Moussaka
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
250g minced beef
½ cup red wine
½ tsp dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of cumin
½ large eggplant, sliced
½ zucchini, sliced
salt and ground black pepper
1. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry the mince until browned. Pour off any excess fat and place mince in a bowl to the side.
2. In the same pan gently cook the garlic and onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until the onion has softened then add the mince to the onion and garlic.
3. Add wine, puree, chopped tomatoes, oregano, cumin and cinnamon stick. (Do not cut in half because you will end up with pieces of cinnamon in your food, not a good look). Simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring continuously and pouring in about 1/4 cup of water every 10 - 15 minutes.
This is a thirsty dish, it just sucks up all the liquid you put in it. Remove the cinnamon stick (hopefully it hasn't broken up into shards) and season to taste. Preheat oven to 190C.
4. Fry the eggplant and zucchini slices in the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil until golden on both sides and season well with salt and black pepper. Try not to add more oil otherwise your dish will end up very oily.
5. Place a layer of eggplant and zucchini on the bottom of an ovenproof dish (15 cms by 10 cms ), followed by half the mince mixture. Add another layer of eggplant and zucchini then the rest of the mince and finally a final layer of eggplant and zucchini.
6. Bake the moussaka for about 25-30 then serve.
In the end this recipe did come out really delicious but it is not easy. It is time consuming, messy and really oily (this was probably my fault) and takes ages. I was starving by the time it was ready.
I am waiting for my equally baking loving friend Tina to send me a better recipe, she said she has a good one from George Calombaris. A Greek would know better so let's see how I will go with that one.
This one I am not making again or if I do it will be my way with less cooking, less oil!