Moussaka
A Greek style lasagna to sneak veggies into your weekly meals. 

Ingredients:

1kg grass fed beef mince

3 cloves of garlic minced

3 stalks of celery, diced small

1 red capsicum, diced small

1 zucchini, diced small

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 x 400g cans tinned crushed tomatoes

1 cup veg or chicken stock

2 medium eggplants + oil for grilling

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

3 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing

½ cup red wine

White Sauce ingredients:

200g salted butter

1/2 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon ground wattleseed

1.5-2L milk

2 cups shredded mozzarella or any cheddar cheese

Moussaka 2.jpg

Method:

- Start with the Bolognese by sauteing off the celery, capsicum, zucchini until softened, then add garlic and sautee for another 2-3 minutes, moving constantly and seasoning with salt and pepper.

- Add tomato paste, and cook for a further few minutes, then add red wine and cook for another minute or so until the wine evaporates a bit.

- Now it’s time for tinned tomatoes, brown sugar and the liquid stock and then turn to a low simmer, at this stage you can add an old parmesan husk (the outer bit of the parmesan) to add extra umami, you can remove this later.

- For the meat, bring a heavy based pan to a medium to high heat and start to cook the beef mince, my partner showed me his way and I really like it. He cooks the mince without breaking it up so it forms a nice caramelisation on the outer sides, giving it extra flavours in the sauce. Once it's reached a deep golden brown, turn it over and repeat, then break it up with an egg slice or wooden spoon and add to the simmering sauce and continue to simmer for another hour or so, the longer and lower the heat the better. 

- To make white sauce, melt butter until it’s liquid and add plain flour stirring continuously to prevent burning, you're just trying to cook the flour at this stage, but you don’t want any colour (or as little as possible). Once it's golden turn off the heat and set aside until milk is ready.

- In another stock pot, bring milk and ground wattleseed up to just before boiling point and take off the heat. Slowly add the warm milk, ladle by ladle, to the butter and flour mix (roux base) and mix ferociously to get it as smooth as possible, a whisk is best. Mix until you can run your finger across the back of a wooden spoon and the white sauce stays parted like Moses’ Ocean.

- Add grated cheese to the white sauce, leaving some for the top of the moussaka, whisk through and place a greaseproof paper cartouche to stop a skin forming on top.

- Slice eggplant into 1 cm slices, or just a bit under. If the eggplant has heaps of black spots, rub both cut sides in salt and lay on a cooling rack and tray for 20 minutes to let the juices run out. This is called de-bittering, it’s not always necessary, but it can really effect the flavour of the dish if they are very bitter.

- Once they have de-bittered, wash off the salt and it’s time for grilling. It’s easier to grill the eggplants on a bigger bbq, but if you have to do it in a frypan, bring oil to a medium to high heat and grill eggplants until they cook through and get some caramelisation.

Set aside and get ready to build the moussaka.

 

- At this stage, the Bolognese should have been simmering for an hour or so (can do this part in advance) the white sauce should be ready to go, and the eggplant is grilled. Start in a deep lasagna style baking dish with a layer of Bolognese, then a layer of grilled eggplant, followed by a layer of white sauce, then repeat.

 

- You can add some fresh basil leaves in one of the layers too. To finish add extra cheese and a few bread crumbs to the top layer if you have any around, no stress if not.

 

- Bake at 180c until golden on top, around 20-30 minutes. You can eat straight away, or let it cool first so it’s neater to cut. It re-heats well in the microwave so it makes for a great meal prep option. If you are gluten free you can use rice flour in your white sauce, or gluten free flour.