Moussaka with Potatoes

Mario made a wonderful moussaka with eggplant, potatoes and zucchini inspired by Alex Petretzikis.  Not having a zucchini handy I have created my own version and share this with you.

I used the potatoes harvested from Veronica’s garden bed and the last of the summer’s eggplants. The Greek bechamel sauce is enriched with an egg yolk and the traditional addition of herbs and  spices gives the moussaka with potatoes a wonderful flavour.

Moussaka with Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 6 small eggplant or 3 medium eggplant, thinly sliced to 1 cm thick
  • 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced

Greek Bechamel Sauce:

  • 750 mL of whole milk
  • 1 onion with 2 whole cloves spiked into it
  • 120 g butter
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 100 g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk (keep the white to use in the meat sauce)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and ground pepper

Meat Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 750 g of beef mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp beef stock powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like Retsina
  • 2 pinches of dried oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tblsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tblsp of finely chopped mint
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tblsp of the cooked bechamel at the end of cooking
  • Extra olive oil for finishing

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Preparing the vegetables:

  1. I have used a Foreman Grill. alternatively you can bake the slices of vegetables
  2. Grill the slices of eggplant and set aside on kitchen paper
  3. Grill the potato slices and set aside

Making the Meat Sauce:

  1. In a large wide saucepan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the knob of butter and heat on  medium.
  2. When the butter is melted add the chopped onion and cook on medium low for 6 minutes till translucent.
  3. Increase the heat to high and add the mince, browning and separating it well.
  4. Dissolve the tomato paste in a couple of tablespoons of water and stir into the browned meat
  5. Stir in the white wine and allow to evaporate off
  6. Add the cans of chopped tomatoes,  1 1/2 cups of water and stir well.
  7. Stir the stock powder.
  8. Season with the salt and ground black pepper and add in the bay leaf
  9. Stir through the chopped mint, chopped parsley, pinches of oregano, pinch of cloves
  10. Put in the cinnamon stick and stir everything well
  11. When the sauce begins to boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  12. Stir the mixture occasionally until the sauce has dried and thickened
  13. When the meat sauce is ready stir in the beaten egg white quickly and set the sauce aside

Making the Greek Bechamel Sauce

  1. Stud the onion with the 2 whole cloves and place in the milk in a pan
  2. Heat the milk till just before boiling and set aside
  3. In a heavy based deep pan melt the butter on a low heat till bubbling
  4. Remove from the heat then make a roux by adding the flour, mixing well and season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute
  5. Remove the clove studded onion from the milk
  6. Using a whisk, gradually add the milk, whisking well to dissolve the butter roux
  7. Keep stirring over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil then lower the heat and stir for one minute
  8. Take off the hotplate, stir in the grated parmesan cheese,  a pinch of nutmeg and whisk through the egg yolks one at a time stirring briskly to prevent lumps forming
  9. Set the pan aside and cover with a lid to prevent a skin from forming over the sauce

Making up the Moussaka and Potatoes:

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce through the meat sauce mixing thoroughly
  2. Drizzle over the bottom of the baking tray with olive oil and spread the bottom with bread crumbs
  3. Place the grilled potato slices over the bottom of the tray in a single layer
  4. Brush lightly with olive oil, scatter lightly with chopped thyme and season lightly with salt and ground black pepper
  5. Sprinkle over with a dusting of cheese
  6. Spoon over the meat sauce
  7. Place a layer of eggplant in a single layer over the top.
  8. Brush lightly with olive oil,  scatter lightly with chopped thyme and season lightly  with salt and ground black pepper as before. Do not over do the amount of seasonings
  9. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese
  10. Spoon over the meat sauce over the top
  11. Spread the bechamel sauce over the top, not too thickly and sprinkle over with some more parmesan cheese and give a good whisper of ground black pepper over the top
  12. Bake at 180 C for 30-35 mins until golden brown
  13. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to cool  and so make serving easier.

Serve with a good Greek salad.

IMG_20160306_143110-finished moussaka and potatoes

IMG_20160306_143426 (1) moussaka and potaoes 2

Variation:

The end of summer always brings a glut of eggplant and zucchini to cook into interesting dishes.

If you have extra zucchini you can try making Mario’s version using Alex Petretziki’s recipe that can be found here.  Alex has a wealth of wonderful recipes to try and also has YouTube demonstrations of  his recipes. Do check it out.

 

Growing your ingredients:

 Growing Eggplant

Growing Zucchini

 

 

 

 

 

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