Indy Power: Moussaka's a Greek triumph
Add coconut yoghurt for a lighter twist on the traditional - and tasty - lamb dish.
All the credit for this recipe goes to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, Clare. The coconut yoghurt in place of béchamel is a revelation.
Serves 4-6. Gluten free.
3 medium large aubergines
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
500g minced lamb
250ml of stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and pepper
For the sauce:
400g coconut yoghurt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
50g Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Cut the aubergines lengthways into thin slices. Drizzle on half of the olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes, until soft and just starting to brown.
Add the remaining olive oil to a large pan on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the cinnamon, oregano and lamb and cook until browned. Pour in the stock and tomato purée, add the bay leaves and adjust the heat to bring it up to a simmer. Turn the heat down and cook for about 30mins, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir together the coconut yoghurt and eggs until smooth. Add the nutmeg and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir.
Lay some of the aubergines out in the bottom of your dish. Add half of the meat. Repeat once more, topping the meat layer with a final layer of aubergines and then spread the sauce out on top. Grate the Parmesan over the top and pop it in the oven for about 45-50 minutes until golden.
THE PERFECT COMFORT FOOD
Moussaka is a traditional Greek casserole type dish of meat layered with aubergines, a creamy sauce and cheese on top. As far as I know, it’s traditionally made with lamb and I definitely think it tastes best with lamb, but you can of course make it with beef or pork mince if you prefer. There are lots of different variations, some with potatoes or courgettes and you can play around with these additions - but aubergines are a must. The warming cinnamon makes it such a comforting dish and it’s just the type of thing I crave when I need a bit of cheering up.
Bay leaves! These little leaves add a great depth of flavour to dishes such as this, and I never make Bolognese without some. They’re known to aid digestion and can help relieve heartburn and flatulence. I haven’t tried it but I recently read about how drinking bay leaf tea can help with indigestion and bloating — add a few bay leaves and some fresh ginger to boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes before sipping. You can add a little honey if it’s too bitter. It sounds quite nice and could be worth a try if you suffer from digestive issues.
A FROZEN TREAT
This dish is perfect for freezing, I love making it when I’ve got some spare time and I hide it in the freezer for emergencies. I bake it, let it cool completely and then cover it tightly with tinfoil. I reheat it in the oven straight from frozen.