A Monday Moussaka
What better way to recover from a Moany Monday than to dig into a cheery Moussaka? Well I can think of several but a Moussaka is what was on the menu for dinner last night. And what a comforting meal it was too.
1tbsp oil (sunflower is good) plus extra for brushing the aubergines
500g minced lamb
2 large aubergines
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic gloves (or more depending on your taste). It’s really up to you whether you crush it or not. I never do anymore because I find it frustrating to get the stuck garlic out, it seems to take twice as long and its a pain to wash up. I just chop it as finely as I can.
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or a little more depending on preference). This really gives the dish a nice warming taste.
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
And for the wonderful fresh and zingy topping:
250g natural yogurt (or about half a standard large pot if you’re not too finicky about measurements)
100g crumbled feta cheese. Now I’m no pretentious cook, but I really urge you to choose Greek style feta rather than the ‘salad’ cheese which looks the same but definitely doesn’t have the same sharp taste and is more rubbery rather than crumbly
25g grated Parmesan
First we need to roast the aubergines to give them a more sweeter taste. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and slice the aubergines while that’s heating up. Spread them out on a couple of baking trays and brush with oil. I used cooking spray last time for quickness but you don’t need to. Sprinkle with a little salt and roast for 10 minutes. Then turn the aubergines, brush with more oil and sprinkle again with a little salt. Put back in the oven once more for another 10 minutes. When they’re done reduce the heat to 200C.
You can make the filling while the aubergines are in the oven. Heat oil and fry onions over a medium heat until soft. Add lamb mince and brown just so there are no more pink bits and then add the garlic and stir. Next stir in the tomato purée, tinned tomatoes, cinnamon and herbs. Leave this mixture to simmer for at least 15 minutes or until you are ready. If you do leave it simmering for longer and the mixture starts to look a little dry, add a little water.
While that’s doing its thang (in italics) mix together the ingredients for the topping and season well with black pepper. Don’t forget when you add the yogurt to take out the obligatory spoonful of creamy yogurt from the pot and shove it in your mouth quickly. Yum!
Now it’s time to layer up the moussaka. Put half of the meat mixture in a casserole dish (any oven proof dish really) and top with half of the aubergines. Then add the rest of the meat followed by the remaining aubergines. Pour the glorious cheesy yogurty mixture over the top, sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and bake for 35 minutes until wonderfully browned on top.
Serve with salad or vegetables of your choice.