My Moussaka

wp-15435288226415950861927555480911.jpgFirst, a word for the IMP, the International Moussaka Police:

I claim no authenticity with this recipe. Some say Moussaka must be made with tomatos, othes say it can’t possibly contain this or that. This is My Moussaka. It tastes good and looks good and I like, and the closest name match is Moussaka. End of.

The following recipe is for a large bowl, feeding 6 to 8 adults. I use a Pyrex dish 220 x 300 mm, 60 mm deep.

5 medium-sized Aubergines
1 kg lean lamb mince (ask your favourite Halal butcher for leg mince)
500 g Greek Yogurt
1 yellow onion, two gloves of garlic
2 egg yolks

Nutmeg, ground Cinnamon, Sumac (optional), Salt, Pepper, Chilly flakes, Olive Oil

Wash the Aubergines, trim both ends, then cut lengthwise into slices 12..15mm thick (a thick slice of bread). Brush a good amount of olive oil onto both sides of each slice, the sprinkle with chilly flakes, salt and a pinch of nutmeg.

Put this into the oven under the grill, ideally in a combination of circulated heat and top grill. Pretty hot, 190..200C, for as long as it takes. When the aubergine slices develop a nice colour with distinct dark brown spots, you’re done (turn around half way, about 10 minutes the first and 6 minutes the second side).

Meanwhile, put the meat into a large non-stick frying pan on a fairly high heat. Boil away the excess water and crisp the meat. You may need to add olive oil, especially if your meat is really good and lean. Finely dice the onion, crush and chop the garlic. When the meat is crisping up, add onion, garlic and a good splash of olive oil.

Season this with a lot of ground cinnamon – start with a heaped teaspoon. I’m serious. A good teaspoon of Sumac (a fruity Arabic flavour) if you can. Crushed dried Cranberries might serve as an alternative, or just forget about it. Add salt, chilly, pepper and more cinnamon to taste.

Lightly oil the dish, and layer aubergines and meat in an alternating fashion, in vertical layers (not like a lasagna, but have the aubergine slices stand up). When all is layered, you should see alternating stripes of aubergines and meat on the surface.

Now add crushed black pepper, a pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg and a teaspoon of lime juice to the Greek yogurt. Also add two free range egg yolks. Season to taste with more nutmeg. Whisk with a fork, then spoon the mix on top of the meat stripes.

Finally, sprinkle some more crushed black pepper and nutmeg flakes over the surface, just for the good looks (optionally, add breadcrumbs), and pop into the oven at 170 C until ready. If your ingredients were still hot, this won’t take more than 12..15 minutes, just until you can see the whole thing bubbling away and the surface beginning to colour.