Scotty's Mum’s Moussaka

Scotty’s Mum’s Moussaka

Blog and recipe from the lovely Scott Leven, Chef extraordinaire and Food and Beverage Manager at UNE Life, Functions & Catering

I’ve always thought food is so much more than sustenance. In my family, we think of cooking as an act of love.

Now, I don’t mean you have to pour your heart and soul into every dish, but cooking for the people you care for is such a simple act of devotion. I’ve been a chef for over a decade now, but nothing has ever compared to the special home-cooked dishes my mum makes. Mum’s comfort food has always offered a certain special something that just can’t be found anywhere else. As a human, our senses of taste and smell are so strongly tied to the most powerful memories, so the signature dishes from my childhood never fail to inspire that same sense of warmth and comfort.

This is the dish my mum would make for my birthday, and she still does every year. Actually, she makes it every time I go home. Honestly, I love it that much!

Traditionally Moussaka is made with a base of thinly sliced potatoes and lamb mince, but Mum always used beef and served it with baked jacket potatoes on the side. With silky slices of eggplant, this dish is almost like a lower-carb lasagne, making it the perfect guilt-free indulgence, and I’m sure we could all use a few extra veggies in our lives!

This is such an easy meal to make, so, why not give it a go and share it with the people you love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

DID YOU KNOW…

  • Moussaka really originated in the Middle East but was made famous in Greece by the French-trained Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementesin the 1920s who introduced the indulgent Béchamel topping.
  • Eggplant’s are actually berries!
  • It’s low in calories and is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, and B vitamins.

INGREDIENTS:

Makes around: 8 serves (that’s if you want to share)

Eggplant

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Meat Sauce

  • 700g lamb mince (or beef if you prefer)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 125ml dry white wine (I use chardonnay, or whatever I’m drinking at the time)
  • 400g crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Béchamel Sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 625ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Topping

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella

METHOD:

­Eggplant

  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1cm thick slices then season with salt and pepper
  3. Heat your oil in a large frying pan over high heat and fry the slices until lightly browned, soft and pliable
  4. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside to cool slightly

Meat Sauce

  1. In the same pan, chuck in the diced garlic and onion. You’ll want to cook this for about 2 minutes until it’s soft and fragrant
  2. Place the mince in the pan and cook this until browned, breaking it up as you go
  3. Pour the wine in and cook for 2 minutes (until alcohol smell is gone)
  4. Next, add your crushed tomatoes.
  5. Using the can from the tomatoes, fill the tin halfway with water and add this to the pot
  6. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine
  7. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it reduce for 15-20 minutes – you want it to be a nice thick consistency
    TIP: If the moisture doesn’t evaporate, your moussaka will be too soggy so keep it simmering a little longer! (I’m notoriously impatient, so mine is always a bit soggy, but still tastes just like Mum’s)

Béchamel Sauce

  1. Melt your butter in a pan over a medium heat
  2. Add the flour and cook this for about 1 minute, ensuring you’re stirring constantly
  3. Slowly add the milk and continue to stir for 3 to 5 minutes (until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon)
  4. Remove your sauce from the stove and whisk in cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
  5. Allow your sauce to cool for 5 minutes and then cover with a lid until required

Assemble – the fin bit!

  1. Lay your eggplant slices in the bottom of a deep baking dish, then sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs and mozzarella
  2. Spoon your meat sauce over the eggplant and spread evenly all the way to the edges
  3. Pour your Béchamel Sauce over this
  4. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and mozzarella
  5. Bake uncovered at 180˚C for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. YUM!

Serve on its own or with a lovely garden salad and baked jacket potatoes if you want to make mum’s recipe to a tee!

Here’s a few snaps from my kitchen to yours:

Scotty's Mum’s Moussaka
Scotty's Mum’s Moussaka
Scotty's Mum’s Moussaka
Scotty's Mum’s Moussaka

DELICIOUS!

We want to see what your dinner looks like, tag us @lifefunctionscatering and we will share them in our stories!

PS: If you’re in Armidale, don’t forget to drop into The Shop, we’ve just launched a little range of delectable pickles, relishes, and jams!