Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Ruths favourite Moussaka

We got some bargain aubergines from Lidl at the weekend (50p each and lovely and plump and shiny) and upon spotting some equally bargainous mince we decided to have a crack at my mum's famous Moussaka. We made a couple of changes along the way but I think it was pretty close to mamma Chapman's. Anything written in black is the original recipe and in blue are my comments and changes.

(For 4)

4 Aubergines
1 Large Onion
4-6 tbsp. Olive Oil
1lb Lean Lamb Mince (we used beef which was slightly less rich but was also less oily)
1 level tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Tomato puree
1/4 pt. Stock or Water
1oz. Butter
1oz. Plain Flour
1/2 pt. Milk
1 Egg

  • Peel and finely chop the onion and fry in 1 tbsp. oil in large pan for about 5 mins.
  • 1 clove of garlic - it seemed wrong not to
  • Add Meat and fry until brown.
  • Stir in salt, tomato puree and stock.
  • Chopped in some cheap sun dried tomatoes from Lidl and splashed in some of the tasty oil and a chopped large tomato from, you guessed it, Lidl - really red and smelt great
  • Season to taste.
  • Simmer for about 30 mins until liquid is absorbed and meat tender.
  • Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the aubergines. Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle generously with salt.
  • Leave for about 30 mins, till all the bitter juices have been drawn out. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry on kitchen paper.
  • Fry aubergine slices in olive oil until golden, then drain on kitchen paper. (This is what takes the time - I try and use 2 frying pans at once to quicken the procedure.)
  • This is such a pain in the bum - might try skipping this step but not sure what would happen. It also used a massive amount of kitchen roll.
  • Arrange a layer of aubergines in the bottom of the buttered ovenproof dish.
  • Cover with a layer of meat. Then add another layer of aubergines and so on, ending with a layer of aubergines.
  • Make a white sauce with butter, flour and milk. Cook for 2-3 mins and season to taste.
  • Take pan off heat and beat in egg. We didn't beat in an egg as we didn't have one, the white sauce was nice but less thick than Mum's. Paul added some mustard to it too - but I couldn't taste this in the final dish
  • Spoon this sauce over the aubergines and cook in a preheated oven (180 celcius) until bubbling and browned.
N.B You can use beef mince and substitute aubergines with potato slices - this is what you get at the Blue Lagoon, which is still good after all these years (Shame about the decor!). The blue lagoon is an old restuarant in Darlington that has been run by the same Greek family since the 60's - it probably hasn't been decorated since. They do a great Moussaka and chicken parmo - served with creamed cabbage which is fantastic but a little rough on the arteries. When I go there I am the youngest person by about 20 years.