Saturday, April 05, 2008
(Photo by Desmond)
When I left Turkey, I never really enjoyed moussaka as I had in Turkey. It was the thick, often cloying high fat and flour Béchamel sauces that topped the moussaka that often had me choking. It never tasted like the moussaka that I had and made on the boat in the Aegean. That is because it wasn’t topped with the béchamel but rather, almost a custard with yoghurt. I’ve also adapted this recipe for elk but lamb or beef can also be used. Vegetarian options are also easy to adapt to this recipe.
1 large chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 lb ground elk (lamb, bison or beef)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup elk stock (recipe follows but other stock may be used)
1/2 cup red wine
2 large eggplants (aubergines)
2 1/2 cups yoghurt
2 rounded tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Slice eggplants into large rounds and drizzle a fair amount olive oil. Lightly grill slices on a BBQ at high heat or fry in olive oil until lightly brown. I find that grilling the eggplant is faster and uses less oil. If the eggplants were not the freshest, first soak the slices in salted water for at least an hour and then rinse and squeeze out extra moisture. After grilling, set eggplant slices aside.
Fry onion, garlic and bay leaf in olive oil on medium low heat for 15 minutes until the onions are tender but not browned. Add the ground elk and cook, stirring, until the meat has browned. Add oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add chopped tomatoes to saucepan and the stock and wine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Layer the eggplant slices and alternate with the meat mixture, ending with a layer of eggplant. Pour yoghurt mixture of yoghurt, eggs, flour, salt and pepper and nutmeg over the top of the moussaka. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 1 hour until the topping is set and brown. Allow the moussaka to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Optional: try with zucchini, spinach or potato slices
Rich Elk Stock
(Hyperlink to an excellent chef's blog from where I adapted this recipe)
2 small Elk Osso bucco pieces
4 carrots, peeled and large diced
3 celery, large diced
2 Spanish onions, large diced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bunch parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1. Place elk osso bucco or elk roast bones in a large roasting pan and roast in a 375ºF oven for 45 minutes, or until the bones begin to become golden brown.
2. Place the onions, celery and carrots on top of bones and place back in oven and roast another 30 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown.
3. Coat bones with tomato paste and place back in the oven again and roast until tomato paste until it starts to brown but do not let it burn, approximately 15 minutes.
4. Place bones and vegetables into a large stock pot along with remaining ingredients. Cover the bones with cold water and bring pot to a simmer.
5. While bringing the pot to simmer, place the roasting pan over a burner and add the red wine. Scrap the bits from the bottom of the pan using the wine to deglaze the pan, add wine and bits to the stock pot.
6. Once water comes to a boil, set to a low simmer, and skim the stock of scum and fat for the first two hours.
7. Leave stock pot on a low simmer for about 4 hours. Periodically skim excess fat from the top of the pot and add water if necessary.
8. Remove pot from heat and strain stock through a fine sieve. Place into individual containers and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for up to a month.