(Sort of) Diet Dinners: Mummah’s Moussaka

My mum is an excellent cook. Lately, as I’ve been trying to think of interesting and healthy things to cook for dinner, I have realised this all the more. We always ate interesting, delicious food and there was lots of variety. More and more often I am calling her a few hours before dinner time, asking for the recipe for one of her dishes, and last week it was her moussaka that I was craving.

 

I don’t really like lasagna – maybe I’ve just tasted too many boring, bland sheets of pasta from lunch time cafes – so moussaka, that Greek dish of layered eggplant, tomato and mince with a crispy crust of white sauce, cheese and breadcrumbs, is my lasagna, a comforting dish both for its warmth and meatyness, perfect for winter, and because it reminds me of my mum. Here’s her recipe for this Greek classic.

 

Mummah’s Moussaka

Ingredients:

  • 1kg lamb mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 90g butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 470g can tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 185g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

 

To make white sauce:

Melt butter. Remove from heat, stir in flour and nutmeg. Stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Add milk and stir until sauce boils and thickens. Reduce heat and cook further for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add one lightly beaten egg, stir well.

To make meat sauce:

Cook mince, finely chopped onion and chopped garlic. Add undrained tomatoes, tomato paste and wine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat. Simmer gently, uncovered, until meat is tender and nearly all liquid has evaporated, approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Cook eggplant slices until golden brown. Drain well. Arrange in base of greased ovenproof dish. Combine grated cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle 1/3 of mixture over eggplant.

 

Spoon meat sauce over, then spread white sauce evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese mixture over. Bake in hot oven 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

 

 

Presentation didn’t turn out quite as well as mum’s – my topping wasn’t perfectly and evenly browned –  but it tasted fantastic, and made for delicious, comforting left overs for the rest of the week.

 

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