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Moussaka

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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 May 2012 at 06:31

Masterchef Australia from previous year 2011 is now on our own Belgian foodchannel. Last week I watched another of their fantastic "Masterclass" editions where the Greek judge -and fantastic cook- Georges introduced his mom to cook a real Greek moussaka. Well, my eyes and ears were so open. Moussaka is one of those very deceptively "easy" things to make; potato, eggplant or aubergine, meatsauce, Mornay sauce. But,... everything has to come together perfectly or it will not work well. I always precooked potatoes or used them raw and I made another series of mistakes. I already knew from another source that the secret of a moussaka was to fry the raw potatoes first, now it seems to be confirmed. Do get yourself a king-size roll of paper towel!

Moussaka;

1. Potatoes; peel and cut them in thin slices. Heat a pan with a good amount of oil. Dry the slices first with paper towel and fry them. Let them get a nice color but do not cook them completely "done", they have to go in the oven for another 45 minutes! Take the ones that are done out of the pan and replace with another slice until all potato slices are done. I put the cooked slices on paper towel and dipped as much oil off with paper towel as I could. Set aside.

2. Aubergines (eggplant); cut some of the peel off from top to toe, but not all of it, so they look like striped. Cut in thin slices. Put in a colander and sprinkle each layer with a little salt. In 15 minutes time, the aubergines will bleed a little amount of bitter moist.

Do NOT rinse, but guess; put into paper towel that will absorb that bitterness and hopefully some salt too.

Similar to the potatoes, fry in a pan in a lot of oil in the same systematic way as the spuds. Also, do NOT cook them all the way, they still need to go in the oven. Add oil as needed. Same procedure as the potatoes; put on paper towel and dip the excess of oil off with.. paper towel.

3. Meatsauce; I could have called it a bolognaise, but that wouldn't be correct, this sauce cooks for around half an hour, no more. According to Georges mom; don't start with frying onion or the whole thing will be too much onion taste (..that's new to me!) but start with frying equal parts of minced meats; lamb, pork and beef. I don't have lamb, so I used pork and beef. Fry until nicely crumbly, then add chopped onion and garlic. Georges mom insisted to add these 3 herbs, or it's not a moussaka; oregano, thyme and rosemary. Then add passata and let cook for 30 minutes. s&p. Set aside.

4. Mornay sauce; or in plain language; a béchamel with cheese in. Make a roux from melted butter and equal part of flour. Let fry a while, add cold milk in stages and keep whisking well. You need to make quite a thick Mornay. Georges mom adds an egg to it, but I don't, just add cold milk a bit at a time to obtain a thick sauce. Add s&p and nutmegg and a good handfull of cheese. I used Emmenthal, George's mom used Kefalotyri or something sounding like that.

5. Assemble the moussaka; start with a layer of meatsauce, a layer of potato, meatsauce and a layer of aubergine. Keep buiding these layers. Cover with a thick layer of Mornay sauce and another handful of grated cheese on top.

6. Bake in the oven; put in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 45 minutes. Let cool down a good 5 minutes and serve; see how nice it keeps together. Absolutely divine, and all credits to the mom of Masterchef Australia's judge Georges; thank you so much!

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 07:33
Alright Criss, who's gonna clean the drool off my keyboard?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 09:29
Criss it looks like my Greek Friend is making she just add a pinch of cinnamon ,
yours looks to die for, thanks for making me hungry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 11:28
Another beautiful post as always, Chris, and very informative as well.
 
The moussaka recipes I ahve seen feature ground meat, usually lamb, and tomatoes - would this rendition be a regional way to do it, or an interpretation? either way, it looks delicious ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2012 at 02:33
Chris...it appears that you did indeed add tomatoes to the meat sauce (passata), but in the post I don't see the amount. Perhaps you just eyeballed it to the correct consistency?
Could you fill us in? It surely does look delicious.Thumbs Up
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2012 at 05:37

Thanks guys. I'm very convinced there are endless variations on moussaka, but for the time being this will be my "go to" recipe, so delicious. A hint of cinnamon from africanmeat might be a good addition to consider.

It really does need potato and aubergine, Ron. Is it authentic or specific to one greek region? I have no idea, maybe africanmeat's greek friend could elaborate on that?

Sorry Dave, I really cook as the french say "au pif" (literally; "using the nose"). This batch is a good 3 persons portion. I used only one very large potato and only one medium aubergine. The mornay could be around 50 gram-ish of butter and flour and maybe a little more than 1/2 liter of milk and a good handfull of cheese. The meatsauce is made with a storebought 50/50 mixed pork/beef minced meat, around 400 grams, 1 large onion, 3 "cracked" whole cloves of garlic that I removed when the sauce was done, 1 teaspoon worth of each; dried (...all greeks avert your eyes) Turkish oregano, thyme and finely cut rosemary, s&p and a 500 grams (1lb) of storebought pack of passata. Check the passata package for ingredients!!! It has to be 99% pure tomato and 1% salt, absolutely not a prefabricated sort of tomatosauce with more ingredients! Sorry for the metrics, a good soul may translate them?

Please take your time for this dish and do enjoy making it as much as I did, while having an ouzo, just to get into a greek mood, yamas!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2012 at 05:39
OK my friend says that  Moussaka is a Balkan  food, some do it with or without potato's  but the Greeks and the Greek  islands are doing it  like Chris recipe with  potatos and aubergine . the recipe spices  difrent from region to region .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2012 at 17:23
Just to fill in a little, here are some comments from Dean and Catherine Karayanis' Regional Greek Cooking.
 
"The term mousaka likely comes from the similar Arab dish musakhkbsan, and a raw form of it probably came to Greece with the introduction of eggplant.
 
"In Greece, this dish comes in as many different varieties as hamburgers do in the English-speaking world."
 
"Macedonian mousaka's layer of fried potatoes sets it apart from other casseroles of the same name (this recipe is not to be confused with mousaka concoctions from the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, which lack eggplant and are topped with eggs and cheese instead of bechamel). "
 
With minor differences in technique, the Macedonian Mousaka is almost indistinguishable from Chris's version, except only lamb is used. I was surprised to hear that pork and beef were part of the mix, cuz I've only seen one mousaka recipe before that was made with anything but lamb.
 
Proving the point about there being numerous "authentic" versions, the Karayanis' later include a version from Mykonos that includes mushrooms, but no potatoes.
 
In Cooking The Greek Way, Maro Duncan has four versions of mousaka. Two use only potatoes, one uses only eggplant, and the fourth, called "mock mousaka" uses eggplants but doesn't use meat at all.
 
And, if that isn't confusing enough, in their Three Sisters Around The Greek Table, the Bakopoulos girls present a family version that includes zucchini as well as eggplant and potatoes, and a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon too. Their meat sauce uses beef rather than lamb
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 03:31
Ok due to the long debit it made me wana do it. so today we will have mousaka for super .i will take a photo  (if i will be quick enough)   and post it      T H A N K S ...... Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 10:31
looking forward to it, ahron!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 13:01
It was a amazing the family licked their fingers
 
just before the oven
 
 
after a good bake
 
 
on the plate
 
 
next to it my wife  did also a Romanian dish, pickled aubergine .i will post the how to if anybody wants.
 
 
Thanks for the inspiration.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 13:03
ahron, that looks incredible, i love the way the bechemel bakes and also how it looks on the plate.
 
and yes! we GOTTA have the recipe for that delicious-looking pickled aubergine!Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 16:24
+1 on the pickled aubergine. Please!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2012 at 17:51
Yes please! Me threeThumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2012 at 04:33
And another one asking for that pickled aubergine recipe, please!!
Your moussaka looks fantastic, Ahron!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2012 at 11:38
Originally posted by ChrisBelgium ChrisBelgium wrote:

And another one asking for that pickled aubergine recipe, please!!
Your moussaka looks fantastic, Ahron!
 
Chris thanks you gave me the inspiration
 
here is the aubergine recipe
Ahron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Addtotaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2012 at 04:03
It was the best Moussaka yet. My mouth is drooling just remembering it :)
Check out some more recipes and reviews - www.addtotaste.co.za
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Souvlaki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 September 2012 at 09:10
Nice version of the moussaka recipe I must admit. 

Living in Greece I have seen many variations of the dish but one is original eggplant layers and minced meat sauce and bechamel sauce on the top. 
Few weeks ago there was a talk show on greek tv and some of the best Greek chefs were invited. What I understood about moussaka is that 

1. the original moussaka is prepared with eggplants , minced meat sauce...beef or lamb and bechamel sauce

2. on the Greek islands they have a version with potatoes, and in many villages in continental part of the country....mostly because potato is a cheap vegetable, and this way they had a cheaper version .

3. lately moussaka is prepared with layers of zucchini=fried, and carrots


please note that I am not a chef and do not have any experience in this proffession , i am just a mother interested in placing the best food on her children's plates. Wink

what I wrote here is what I heard from Greek chefs. 

Now in the former yugoslav republic of Macedonia they have moussaka with potatoes minced meat sauce with carrots and parsley....another layer of potatoes, baked and the last 5 minutes of the baking thay mix eggs and milk in a bowl, pour it over the potatoes and bake for a while, untill it is consistent and turns red. 

In Austria and some northern parts of Croatia they make moussaka with layer of sauteed sauer kraut, minced meat and boiled rice sauce, another layer of sauer kraut and creme fresh on the top. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 September 2012 at 06:23
Hello Souvlaki,
This recipe was demonstrated by this so very lovely also greek woman. Best moussaka ever, well at least for me being a non Greek!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Souvlaki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 September 2012 at 06:38
Hi Chris, 
I agree with you moussaka is a very good dish no matter what ingredients you use to make it. 
I prepare it with eggplants only, but lately i serve it in a cup with tzatziki on the top instead of bechamel sauce. 
I hope to be able to take a photo when i prepare it and send it here. 


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