|Variations on Moussaka
||[Feb. 28th, 2007|09:49 am]
The Lazy Bastard's Guide to Weight Loss
This recipe uses low fat ricotta instead of the cheesy bechamel sauce. The variation turns the moussaka into more of a pasta-less lasagne. This is not the quickest of recipes but it makes enough for more than one meal, and it keeps well in the fridge or freezer.
Moussaka / Lasagne
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 large eggplant (aubergine), cut in 1/2 cm slices
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g lamb mince / 500g beef mince
1 x 200g tin tomatoes (I use Coles Italian tomatoes because they have no added sugar)
1 tbsp tomato paste
chicken / beef stock cube (optional)
1/2 - 1 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon / 2 tsp dried basil (or fresh equivalent if you have it in the garden)
1 tsp ground allspice / 2 tsp dried oregano (or fresh equivalent if you have it in the garden)
3 tsp dried parsley (or fresh equivalent if you have it in the garden)
salt & pepper
500g tub low-fat ricotta
2 tbsp grated cheese (parmesan is best)
olive oil spray
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Fry the mince until well browned, breaking up any lumps with the back of a spoon. Tip onto a plate covered in a thick layer of kitchen paper and leave to drain the fat. If you are really anally retentive and want to remove as much fat as possible you can rinse the meat in a colander under very hot water, but I think this would remove too much flavour.
Grill the eggplant slices either on a griddle pan lightly sprayed with oil (most successful) or under a griller/broiler until well browned. (It is important to remove as much water as possible from the eggplant otherwise you will end up with soggy moussaka. Some people like to sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and leave it for half an hour before rinsing and grilling, but I find just grilling them is quicker and just as successful if your slices are nice and thin.)
Spray a large pan with oil. Fry the onion over medium heat until just golden and translucent. Add garlic and fry briefly (do not allow to burn). Tip the pre-browned mince back into the pan along with the tinned tomatoes, spices/herbs and tomato paste and allow to fry off for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add water and stock cube if using, and simmer slowly over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes. Then turn up the heat to a fast simmer to reduce the sauce. (It needs to be very thick with no liquid around it to avoid the soggy moussaka problem.) Allow to cool slightly.
Place a layer of grilled eggplant slices in the bottom of a small lasagne dish or other flat casserole. Overlap the slices a little. Add half of the meat sauce and cover with the rest of the eggplant. Add the second half of the meat sauce. Top with ricotta and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until hot all the way through and cheese is bubbling and browned. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing and eating.
(approximate values per serve)