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Recipe for family meals :

Moussaka
 

This recipes comes from Dancer and Graphic artist Martin James. Martin, who originally comes from New Zealand, is now living with his wife and children in Copenhagen as he is currently principal Dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet. You will be able to find out more about Martin when his Biography page is published.

Being so gifted it seems unfair that Martin should also be talented in the kitchen as well but he has agreed to share some of his recipes with us which is great news.

Ingredients

4 large eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
Coarse kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 onions, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup parsley
2 tablespoons basil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for baking
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups scalded milk
4 eggs
10 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Method

Preparation:

  • Prick eggplants several times with a fork. On a large baking sheet, roast eggplants in 400º oven until soft, 35 to 45 minutes, turning frequently to prevent charring.
  • Cool and slice eggplants lengthwise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • In a sauté pan heat 1/4 cup olive oil and brown eggplant slices, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  • Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Sauce:

  • In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves and sauté until tender.
  • Add tomatoes and their liquid. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hands to break into coarse chunks.
  • Add parsley, pepper, basil, cumin, cinnamon and vinegar.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until sauce becomes thick, about 20 - 30 minutes minutes.

Lamb Filling:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with onions and garlic over medium-high heat; sauté until tender, 5 minutes.
  • Add lamb and brown well, breaking up pieces with a wooden spatula until the pieces are no larger than 1/4 inch.
  • Add wine, bring to a boil and cook until wine has reduced almost completely.
  • Season meat with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir in 1/2 cup tomato sauce.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.

Bechamel Sauce:

  • In a saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat and gradually whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly, but do not let the roux get brown. Slowly whisk in warm milk.
  • Bring bechamel sauce to a slow boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to barely simmering and cook 20 - 25 minutes until smooth and thickened. Remember to stir occasionlly so as not to let the sauce stick.
  • Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let cool slightly. In a bowl whisk the eggs and then whisk in spoonful of sauce to warm the eggs so they will not scramble. Sowly whisk in the remaining sauce and adjust seasoning to taste, if needed.

Assembly:

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large baking dish or lasagna pan (18 x 8 x 3 inches) sprinkle 2 tablespoons bread crumbs and cover evenly with half of eggplant.
  • Drain as much oil from meat mixture as possible (can squeeze meat in a paper towel) and spread over eggplant; top with half of the feta cheese, then with half of remaining bread crumbs.
  • Layer remaining eggplant, then bechamel sauce, remaining feta cheese and remaining bread crumbs in even layers.
  • Dot top generously with butter.
  • Bake 45 minutes until bubbly and top is well-browned. If necessary, brown top briefly under a preheated broiler.
  • Cool slightly and cut into 3-inch squares to serve. Serve with extra tomato sauce, if desired.

Serves 12

Martin James

 
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