Whether you call them Aubergines or Eggplants, Moussaka is just the dish that makes them work their magic on your plate. Like many traditional dishes, it comes in many variations. Arabic countries tend to eat this dish cold but we’re going with the Balkan style -layered and served fresh from the oven.
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 plump garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 450g minced beef
- 100ml white wine
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 400g can plum tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 heaped tbsp chopped oregano leaves
- 2 good handfuls chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 aubergines ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large, wide sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic, then fry for 6-8 mins until turning golden. Add the carrots and fry for a couple more minutes then stir in the meat. Whack up to a high heat, continuously stirring until the meat is no longer pink. Pour in the wine and briefly cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice. Now, tip in the tomatoes, tomato purée and 1 tbsp water (mixed with any juices left in the can).Give it another good stir and season with some pepper, the oregano and half the parsley. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 50 mins, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Mix in the remaining parsley.
While your meat is cooking, it’s time to prepare the aubergines. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6. Grease to baking sheets with a little oil then mix the rest with the lemon juice. Slice the aubergines into 1cm thick lengthways slices, then lay them on the baking sheets. Brush with the oil and lemon mix, season with pepper and bake for 20-25 mins until soft, then set aside. Lower oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Spread 2 big spoonfuls of the meat mixture on the bottom of an ovenproof dish (measuring around 28 x 20 x 6cm deep). Lay the aubergine slices on top, slightly overlapping. Spoon the rest of the meat mixture on top. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Slacken the cornflour with a little of the yogurt, stir in the rest of the yogurt, then mix this into the eggs with half the cheese. Season with pepper. Pour and spread this over the meat to cover it. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, a little cinnamon and a grating of pepper. Bake for 50 mins-1 hr until bubbling and golden.
Leave moussaka to settle for 8-10 mins, then scatter over some chopped parsley and cut into squares. Serve with a salad of tomato, red onion and rocket.
Share, savour, enjoy!