Cyprus style Moussaka
Moussaka has to be our favourite Cypriot recipe. The dish can be made many different ways as a glance on an internet search engine will show you! This recipe is one that Niki has evolved and honed since we have lived on Cyprus. Try it, I think it could quickly become your favourite!!
Serve with a crisp green salad or a Cypriot cabbage, onion, cucumber and tomato salad.
4 Large Aubergines
600-700g minced pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed in a garlic crusher
400g chopped tinned tomatoes or 4 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Good grinding of black pepper
2 tablespoons Keo brandy
125 ml red wine
Salt to taste
750 ml milk
3 heaped tablespoons cornflour
Freshly grated nutmeg
250g Kefaloytiri cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the aubergines into 1cm slices, widthways, discarding the end pieces. Lay the slices onto a baking tray or grill pan and using a pastry brush and a small dish of olive oil, lightly coat the slices with the oil. Grill under a hot grill until golden, then turn the slices over and repeat. They should be soft and golden brown. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/350 F/Gas 4
In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the onion and garlic until softening, then add the pork and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the remaining ingredients for the meat sauce and simmer gently, stirring from time to time, until reduced and thick, around 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile make the white sauce. I do this in the microwave. Put all the ingredients except the cheese and egg in a non-metal jug and cook for two minutes on High in the microwave. Whisk and repeat, whisking every two minutes until thick and cooked. Allow to cool slightly and then add 3/4 of the grated cheese and the beaten egg. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste
If cooking the white sauce on the stove top, mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of the cold milk, heat the rest of the milk until boiling point, whisk in the milk and cornflour mixture and add the butter. Turn the heat down and cook, whisking, until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then add 3/4 of the grated cheese and the beaten egg. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
When the meat sauce is ready, arrange a layer of aubergine slices in an ovenproof dish. Pour half of the meat sauce over and repeat the aubergine layer. Add the remaining meat sauce and finish with a layer of aubergines. Pour over the White sauce and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for around an hour, until golden in patches and bubbling around the edges, and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.