Moussaka is one of my favourite dishes, in my humble view it has to have cinnamon included – and lot’s of it. You might feel that adding a spice used in sweet dishes in the UK sounds strange, but it rounds off the flavour really well. It can be a high calorie dish particularly when lamb is the main component but it is possible to reduce the high fat load. I may be performing moussaka sacrilege by suggesting that it can be made without tomatoes, but I feel the essential flavours are included, so the dish doesn’t miss much by not using them.
2 medium aubergines
1 tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil
500 g lean lamb mince
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of asafoetida
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 pint of skimmed lactose free milk (Yes you can get it now!!!)
75 g grated strong mature cheddar
200 ml of red wine
1/2 teaspoon of gravy browning
100 ml of water
4 teaspoons of cornflour
Salt & pepper to taste
The method is time-consuming but I don’t eat this dish regularly, I usually have it on special occasions so it is worth making an effort to make it well.
1) Dry fry the mince and add cinnamon, asafoetida, oregano and gravy browning. Drain off the cooking juices and allow the mince to cool. Put the cooking juices in the refrigerator till the drained lamb fat has gone solid, scoop off the fat and throw it away.
2) Pour the remaining cooking juices in a frying pan, add red wine, water and cook. Mix 2 teaspoons of the cornflour with a little water then add to the gravy, cook till thickened.
3) Slice the aubergines into 4-5 mm circular slices, sprinkle with olive oil and roast in the oven till brown. Cool.
4) Slice the potato to the same thickness as the aubergine and par boil for 10 minutes – do this just before you are ready to assemble the dish, you don’t want them to go cold.
5) Grate the cheese, pour the milk into a pan and add the cheese and the rest of the cornflour (mixed with a little water.) Cook till thickened, cool and add the eggs – mix well.
6) Add a layer of aubergine, potato, meat – add gravy. Continue to build up the layers till the ingredients are used up. Pour the cheese sauce on the top.
7) Cook for 1 hour at gas mark 6 (200°C), or until the potatoes are soft and the top has browned.