Before Christmas I invited one of my friend over for a pre-Christmas dinner just to say Merry Christmas before we both went to see our families.
The idea turned into a small disaster as, first of all I completely forgot it was her birthday and I planned no cake, no crazy menu no…nothing basically! So When I realised and I looked into my fridge I saw I had a few aubergines – meaning 2!!! – and some minced meat. Then I had this great – NOT – idea of making a Christmas moussakà because it reminded me of the good time spent in Greece with my friends in summer and I thought it was a good way of finishing the year.
I ran to the shop to get some milk and arrived back home absolutely ready to prepare this dish while my kitchen robot was preparing the bechamel for me. I had half an hour…perfect!
Wrong! My kitchen robot let me down, it was absolutely kaput! So despite the fact that I was already late, I had to prepare the bechamel by hand, old style, and I managed to get a quite decent number of lumps! Well done me! We get use to an easy life so quickly…
Minced meat – I think I had 300 gr but I can’t exactly remember, maybe it was 500…
1 Can of chopped tomatoes
1 small Shallot or an Onion
1 Garlic Clove
3 bay leaves
1/2 Glass of wine – red or white
Salt & Pepper
1/2 litre of Milk
30 gr Butter
50 gr Flour
A fistful of grated Parmesan Cheese
The recipe itself is honestly quite easy but you need to work on three different sides: the meat sauce, the bechamel sauce and the grilled aubergines.
I wanted to do the three tasks at the same time and I failed miserably so let’s go layer by layer.
What you can definitely do is for sure prepare the meat sauce and let it cook while you work on tasks 2 and 3!
So make a soffritto with olive oil, chopped shallot and chopped garlic, let it cook a bit and add the minced meat and the bay leaves.
Stir and pour the wine on the meat and let it evaporate, then add the chopped tomatoes and let it cook for quite some times while you take care of the rest.
Slice the aubergines quite thin and grill them on a grill or inside the oven – I didn’t fry it and it was indeed a great choice!
When you’re done, make a layer with your aubergines to cover the entire surface of a baking plate.
You can prepare your bechamel sauce – or buy it readymade!!!!
As I ended up making it by hand… I melted the butter on a very low heat, added the flour and stirred constantly until I had a thick cream, then I slowly – very slowly!- poured in the milk that wasn’t supposed to be cold….
And then good luck in dealing with your lumps! Let it cook for some time, it will be ready when you will not be able to taste the flour very strongly anymore. Add some salt and then you’ve accomplished your second task! Stir, stir, stir and…stir again, over and over, again.
Now that you have the 3 ingredients in front of you it’s easy because you just have to assemble it.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top and let it cook in the oven until the top looks a bit golden.
There isn’t a right cooking time as every ingredient was cooked before, so now it’s just the time to make sure the tastes melt into one and that it gets warm and crispy at the top.
It is an easy dish, it took me ages in a crazy running around day, but that shouldn’t be the case!
It was the recipe I wanted to use to close the 2013 but I had no time so far to post it, so it will be the first postponed post to start 2014!
Tasty indeed! Not very Christmassy though!
Happy New Year!