A dish traditionally found in the regions of the old Ottoman Empire, this version leans towards a Greek-style moussaka. There are a number of variations that include potatoes, some use courgettes. This makes a tasty midweek meal or an alternative to a Sunday roast.
2 onions, peeled, sliced and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
500g minced lamb
1 can (400g) of chopped tomatoes (or whole tomatoes, you simply chop up)
2 aubergines, washed and sliced
300g of no fat natural yoghurt
2 eggs, beaten
25g extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Dawn: I first ate this dish sitting on a old taverna’s beach, looking out at the Sea of Crete with the sun kissing warmed, suntanned shoulders, the ocean lapping it’s rhythmic lullaby having spent a morning of blissful beach-combing, sunbathing, reading and swimming, then popping to this rustic-looking taverna for food. So friendly were its owners that an invite to a Greek family wedding ensued!
Andrew: Oh, I love things like that!
- Put the slices of aubergine in a colander and as you do, shake salt in-between each layer and when complete, set aside.
- In a large non-stick frying pan, put the onions and garlic. Add some water and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are beginning to soften and become transparent.
- Add the minced lamb and cook until browned for approximately 10 minutes. Season to personal preference with salt and pepper.
Dawn: 400g or 450g of minced lamb will do this recipe just as well, it’s worth pointing out here.
- Next, add the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
- While the lamb mixture is slowly simmering, rinse the sliced aubergines in cold water and pat dry. In another non-stick frying pan, place the aubergine slices and cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes until they are turning a little brown, with their ‘veins’ appearing.
- About 10 minutes into preparing the aubergines and letting the lamb mixture work is magical wonders, preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180 °C electric.
Andrew: You may need to add a drop of oil here to prevent the aubergine slices from sticking to the frying pan – see how you get on.
Dawn: I like my aubergines when they are sort of vein-looking, almost caramelised.
Andrew: You do?
Dawn: I do. So, I don’t use oil and rely upon the frying pan doing it’s job with me stirring the slices around to cook.
- Grease a large ovenproof dish and cover its base with a layer of aubergines. Now spoon out the lamb mixture and spread it all over the aubergines. Layer this lamb mixture with the aubergines again and then cover these all over with the lamb mixture. Do this until you have used all the aubergines and all the lamb mixture.
- Put the yoghurt and eggs into a bowl and beat together. Using either ground nutmeg or grating fresh nutmeg, add this along with seasoning (salt and pepper).
- Add half the amount of the grated cheese and mix. Now, spoon this across the top of the dish, covering it completely. Sprinkle the leftover grated cheese on top. Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and cook for 45-60 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and turning golden brown in colour. Serve warm.
Dawn: This also freezes well, too so any leftovers, simply cut into portions, label with the recipe name, date and pop in your freezer.
Andrew: Ready meals from a fresh, homemade dish. Wonderful! And economical, too.
Dawn: Yes, I’ve done the maths on this dish and it’s cost less than £5 with it offering 6 or 8 portions, depending upon your appetite. That’s 83p or 62.5p per portion.
Andrew: Excellent value for money Dawn and so easy to freeze such great tasting food, at such a small cost brings a new meaning to the term “ready meals”.
Dawn: Absolutely, Andrew. And what’s more, you know exactly what ingredients have gone in to the recipe making up such a tasty meal. No-one can underestimate that in terms of real value and providence.
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