Saturday, 26 October 2013


Purple Lebanese Eggplants in my garden

Recently, our good friend Paul gave me his surplus produce of white eggplants. I also have a few purple Lebanese eggplants which were ready for picking. It was our turn to host the after tennis dinner for 12 so  I was excited at the thought of cooking Moussaka for our friends, and also using all of the eggplants. I checked my cookbooks and the various websites and discovered that Moussaka originated from Turkey as a casserole dish, and was then modified by the Greeks to the more baking dish style that we know.

The recipe I cooked last night was a variation of the SBS food recipe from:
 I made a few basic changes and was relieved when the Ricotta cream layer set. I didn't use the lamb shoulder finely diced and substituted veal and pork mince for the lamb shoulder. I think the quantity of mince could have been increased to 2 kilos for a thicker layer.
1 kg Desiree potatoes
3 large eggplant
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
100g kefalotyri cheese, grated,
(or parmesan)
Ricotta cream layer
500g fresh ricotta cheese
125 g kefalotyri cheese, grated
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
500ml cream
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ried Greek oregano
Braised lamb
 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
750g lamb mince
500 g lamb shoulder, boneless finely diced
2 brown onions, finely diced
2 celery stalks finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp dried mint ( 1 tbsp. fresh)
1 tsp dried Greek oregano - or fresh is best
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
250 ml red wine ( I would double this quantity)
500 ml tomato puree
500 ml chicken stock
To make the braised lamb, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Brown mince and diced lamb, remove from pan and reserve.
Leave the oil in pan and over a medium heat, cook onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Return lamb to pan and the herbs and spices.
Cook for 1 min then add wine. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Add tomato puree and stock and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat over to 180deg. C. Peel and slice potatoes 1 cm thick. Cook slices in olive oil in a pan until golden but not cooked through. Cook a couple of extra so you can eat them as you go.
Slice eggplant 1cm thick. I salted mine for 30 mins and then wiped the moisture and salt off and dried them. Place on baking sheet in oven, drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for 15 mins until lightly golden.
Spread lamb filling over partially baked potato layer. Cover with baked eggplant slices. Combine all the ingredients for the ricotta cream then spread over the eggplant layer. Sprinkle over the kafalotyri cheese and bake for 40-50mins or until the top is golden brown.

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