Moussaka

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Serves 4
Method: 

Moussaka is basically lasagnes poor Greek relation. There are a couple of differences in the finished dish though. Firstly it must be made with lamb. Aubergine is used instead of pasta, potato is added to a fully traditional one too. Most moussakas are also finished with a yoghurt, egg and parmesan top. Rather than the traditional bechamel. Like I love to do with all my food, is to deconstruct it and make each individual part as good as it good be. You may think this sounds tiresome and arduous, but it's just a bit of planning ahead that's needed. Firstly the lamb. The rules of tasty meat apply to every animal, the harder a part works in it's life, the tastier it will be. It will also need longer cooking. I made a slow roast lamb shoulder for sunday lunch and then next morning roughly chopped the left over tender shoulder. All I needed to do now is make a delicious gravy and flavourings and the main part of the dish is done. I wanted the meat to be quite thick set so that it would stand on its own as in the photo. To do this I just omitted the tomatoes and served them on the side oven-roasted with confited potatoes and a parmesan foam. 

This is a great get ahead recipe as everything just needs warming through at the time of serving.

  1. Halve tomatoes and put in an oven at 110°c for an hour. Scattered with a drop of oil and some thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the new potatoes into rounds about 1cm thick. Cover with oil, add garlic and thyme sprigs, bring to a simmer and confit for 30mins until cooked.
  3. Add the parmeasn rind to the milk, bring to a boil, take off the heat and let infuse.
  4. For the moussaka, (if using fresh meat, brown in a pan and drain the oil that comes off it. ) Add the meat, carrot, herbs and spices to a pan and put on a high heat.
  5. Add the port and boil until it reduces to a sticky glaze, the same with the red wine. Then add the stock and simmer for 20mins to cook the carrot and let the flavours amalgamate.
  6. Now add the cornflour if it's not a solid mix. Set aside to cool. It will solidify a little more as it cools.
  7. Slice the aubergine into 5mm rounds and heat them in a griddle with a little oil until cooked.
  8. To build your moussakas you will need a 9cm chef's ring. Failing that just a decent sized oven proof dish. Add a layer of meat, then neatly layer some aubergine,meat and final aubergine.
  9. To make the sauce mix all the ingredients together and spoon over the moussaka. Heat in the oven at 200°c for 15 mins for individual ones or 25mins for a large one at 180°c.
  10. Heat the parmesan milk to drinking temperature, 50°c. Then with a stick blender moving up and down, in and out of the milk create some foam.
  11. Decorate the plate with three potatoes, topped with a tomato and spoon the foam over. 
  12. Enjoy with one of the wines below.

Pinot Noir 2010 by Coopers Creek  This NZ grape coming from the Marlborough region. Black plums and black cherries on the nose intermingled with subtle French oak and nuances of grilled meat. Rich and firm on the palate with a bold core of ripe black cherry that lingers on the finish.

Pinot Noir Reserva 2011 by Emiliana Precise Pinot Noir grapes from organic vineyards in Chile's cool Casablanca valley. Grapes harvested in April and put through traditional Burgundian treatments, but aged just 8 months in 100% French barrels to preserve purity of fruit character. 

Shiraz Valley Floor 2009 by Langmeil  ONe of Southern Australias best. A quintessential expression of Barossa Shiraz, with aromas of plum and mulberry offset by milk chocolate, cinnamon and pepper. Spice and a fresh fruit character that deftly belies the wine’s concentration lift the rich, voluptuous texture of the palate bringing you joy upon joy...oh boy!

Chateauneuf du Pape 2009 If you just want to be a traditionalist. Lots of warm red fruit and damson aromas, with cinnamon, spices and jam but also concentration on the palate. Try with traditional lamb or lentil and vegetable moussaka, and any rich hot-pot that heavily features 'herbes de Provence' or similar aromatic herbs.

Ingredients: 

Moussaka

  • 450g left over roast lamb(or lamb mince if starting from fresh)
  • 1 Large Aubergine
  • 2 Tsp Dried Oregano or 2 Tbsp fresh.
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 75ml Port
  • 75ml red wine
  • 150ml Lamb/Beef Stock
  • 1 Carrot finely diced.
  • 1 Tsp Cornflour, dissolved in 1 Tsp water.

Topping

  • 250ml Greek Yoghurt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50g Grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

Tomatoes, Potatoes and Foam.

  • 250g Baby Plum Tomatoes
  • Bunch of Thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • 450g Charlotte Potatoes
  • Oil to cover
  • 250ml Milk
  • The rind end of a block of parmesan-or 20g grated.