To celebrate our recent first-year wedding anniversary, we headed to the (now thankfully open!) pub to celebrate. We drank plenty of wine and ate a lot of Greek food. This feast reminded me exactly how much I love Greek food, and also how infrequently I make it at home. Greek food is incredibly delicious and rarely fussy. It uses simple, Mediterranean flavours but makes them work so that although you may not have a long ingredient list, you still have an abundance of flavour. Take my lamb moussaka recipe, for example! Few spices, but a lot of flavours.
Inspired by the recent pub-trip, I decided to make this lamb moussaka over the weekend. Back in Australia, this was one of my go-to entertaining recipes. Yet for some reason, I had never made it since moving to the UK! So, after hunting through my old recipes, I finally found my delicious lamb moussaka recipe, and got cooking!
Although my recipe calls for lamb mince, you can easily swap this out for lean beef mince if you’d prefer. Unless you’re making your own lamb mince, it can lean towards the fattier side, meaning a very oily moussaka. Not desirable at all. So, lean beef mince is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a leaner option. Otherwise, simply skim or pour off any fat the lamb releases as it cooks, to keep your moussaka delicious – not oily.
My recipe also calls for dry red wine. However, if you have no wine on hand you can buy “Red wine” stockpots from most supermarkets – just add the whole stock pot (no water needed) to get that rich red wine flavour.
Regarding the aubergine, you want to slice these as evenly as possible, and not too thick, about 1/2 a cm I find is the best width and fries to perfection. Adding salt as you fry the aubergine helps to draw out the bitterness and the excess water, meaning gorgeously golden slices.
Finally, rather than using bechamel (which is quite calorific), I use creme fraiche. This is quite similar to sour cream, but I find a lot lighter flavour wise. It adds an extra depth to the moussaka and adds a really unique and interesting flavour that compliments the lamb and aubergine delightfully.
If you have any other questions regarding today’s recipe, let me know in the comments!
Traditional Lamb Recipe
- 750g lamb mince
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 large (or 3 small) aubergines, sliced into 1/2cm rounds
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 300ml creme fraiche
- 30g grated tasty cheese
- 30g crumbled feta cheese
- In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 5-6 minutes or until starting to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook additional 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add the lamb mince and brown over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Skim or pour off any excess fat.
- Add the red wine, and reduce heat to low, simmering for 5-10 minute or until wine is reduced by half.
- Add the cinnamon, oregano, bay leaves, and tomatoes, and stir through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for one hour, uncovered, or until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes have thoroughly cooked down. Skim off as much excess fat as possible, during this time.
- Set aside.
- In a separate skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Fry the aubergine slices on each side for 4-5 minutes, or until both flesh and peel is soft and the flesh is browned and golden. Add additional oil as needed, and season each side with a little salt.
- Set aside each aubergine slice as it is cooked.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Create a single layer of aubergine slices along the bottom of a lasagne dish.
- Top this with a layer of the prepared lamb minced.
- Continue to create layers of aubergine and lamb mince until all has been used up, topping with a final layer of aubergine slices.
- Pour the creme fraiche over the final layer of aubergine and smooth out. Sprinkle with both kinds of cheese, and then bake in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes or until the cheeses have melted and turned golden.
- Remove from oven, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Saturated Fat: 9.5gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 93mgCarbohydrates: 14.3gFiber: 7.2gSugar: 6.9gProtein: 30.7g