This is strictly not traditional. It’s given a whack of umami by the addition of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and, not least, bacon. And the bechamel sauce is souped up with Richard Bosman’s wonderful bacon miso caramel.
For the meat layer:
500g ground mutton or beef (mince)
1 large onion, sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 x 410g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp ground cinnamon (ie not heaped)
4 or 5 sprigs oregano
Salt and pepper
50g tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 large brinjals, cut into thin slices length-wise
8 streaky bacon rashers
Garlic salt for cooking the brinjal slices
Cooking oil as needed for brinjals
Start with the brinjals (eggplant/aubergine). Layer thin lengthwise slices of brinjal in a colander. Salt very well, turn and salt the other side. Salt each new layer. Place on the side of the sink for half an hour while the salt extracts the bitter juices. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the tomato paste and sauté, to soften the acidity in the paste. Add sugar and cook for a minute more.
Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, balsamic and soy and cook for two minutes. Add the meat and work it with a wooden spoon to ensure the mince does not clump. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the bacon. Cook the brinjals slices in olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Set all aside.
Preheat the oven to 200℃ and leave the mince to simmer while you cook the béchamel. Stir the mince occasionally.
When the meat sauce is cooked, stir in a ladleful of the béchamel. This makes the meat layer of the moussaka super creamy and deals with any risk of a runny, watery sauce.
For the béchamel:
500ml full cream milk
4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs butter (not margarine)
1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg or a grating of whole nutmeg
2 Tbs Richard Bosman’s bacon miso caramel
Pour the cold milk into a deep saucepan, adding the bay leaf and pinch of nutmeg. Bring the milk just to the boil, then remove it from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
Melt the butter in a second saucepan. Vigorously stir in the flour with a wooden spoon or whisk, to make a smooth roux. There must be no lumps. Add the hot milk a little at a time, stirring or whisking vigorously; do not add more until the first batch is smooth. Once the last of the milk has been added, stir until it thickens again. Stir in the bacon miso caramel. Keep warm.
Grease or spray a suitable deep oven dish. Pour in the cooked mince sauce. Layer the brinjal slices next, then the bacon. Pour the béchamel over. Bake in the oven for half an hour to 40 minutes. Remove and allow to stand for 20 minutes to allow it to settle, which makes it easier to serve neat portions. – Tony Jackman DM/TGIFood
Order Richard Bosman’s amazing bacon miso caramel at richardbosman.co.za
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