I do like to do a bit of “Food Role-play” sometimes and when I make my Moussaka recipe, I make all the Greek side dishes to compliment this very comforting and hearty dish.
Traditionally, one would use lamb mince in a Moussaka. Here in Norway, it is not that easy to find (even in season) but to be honest, I have no problem using beef mince. It is not as oily as lamb mince and using beef most certainly does not take away from the taste of this dish at all!
The béchamel sauce is heaven! Light and fluffy and adding a rich creaminess to the dish!
- • For the aubergines
- 2-3 x large aubergines (1,2kg)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Coarse salt
- • For the mince mix
- 2 Tbsp x olive oil (extra)
- 1 x large onion, chopped
- 2 x cloves garlic, chopped
- 500g x mince meat (beef or lamb)
- 425g x can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp x tomato paste
- ½ cup x dry red wine
- 2 Tbsp x parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp x sugar
- ¼ tsp x ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- • For the béchamel sauce
- 125g x butter
- 100g x flour
- 1lt x full cream milk
- ½ cup x grated parmesan
- 2 x eggs
- ½ tsp x nutmeg
- For the aubergine, wash and dry the aubergines.
- Cut into 5mm slices and layer on a tray. Sprinkle with coarse salt and let it stand for 20 minutes.
- At this stage you can preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Rinse off the salt and layer the aubergines on towel paper and pat dry.
- Line trays with baking paper and lightly brush with olive oil.
- Place the aubergines in single layer on the tray and brush with remaining olive oil on top.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
- For the mince mix, heat the remaining olive oil in pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until translucent.
- Add mince, break it up and cook until brown.
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, parsley, sugar and cinnamon.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Put lid on and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes.
- For the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan and add 100g flour.
- Turn the heat up, stirring continuously until bubbles form.
- Remove from heat and gradually add milk, stirring after each addition.
- Place mixture back on the heat and continue stirring until it reaches boiling again and has thickened.
- Remove from the heat again and stir in the parmesan cheese and nutmeg, let it cool slightly.
- Before you add the eggs, taste for salt and pepper.
- Whisk 2 eggs lightly and add to the cheese mixture and mix until smooth. (It is important that you keep on whisking during this process to avoid the eggs from scrambling)
- To assemble, grease a 2,5lt oven proof dish with olive oil.
- First layer one-third of the aubergine at the bottom of the dish, cover with half of the mince mix. Add another layer of aubergine, the rest of the mince mix and finally the last layer of aubergine.
- Spread the béchamel sauce over the top and bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and let it stand for about 10-15 minutes to firm up before serving.
Tips : I actually allowed my béchamel sauce to go a little too brown. I recommend that you start checking on the colour after about 35 minutes.