Moussaka Greek-Style

Greek version of Moussaka, flavoured with mizithra or ricotta cheese, Moussaka Greek-Style can be served hot or cold. This dish improves in flavour if it is made a day in advance and reheated, or served cold. Accompany the Moussaka . with a spicy sauce and a tomato or mixed salad.

4 SERVINGS

3 medium-sized aubergines

1 tablespoon plus

1 teaspoon salt

2 oz. flour

6 fl. oz. vegetable oil

1 oz. butter

4 small shallots, finely chopped

1 lb. lean lamb, finely minced

2 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

2 fl. oz. red wine

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon dried sage :} teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoon mixed spice or ground allspice

2 oz. fresh white bread crumbs

SAUCE

6 oz. mizithra or ricotta cheese

3 egg yolks

12 fl. oz. single cream

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 oz. kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Cut the aubergines into slices. Place them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Set the aubergines aside for 30 minutes to degorgc. Dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper towels. Place the flour on a plate. Dip theaubergine slices in the flour, coating them thoroughly and shaking off any excess.

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat 2 fluid ounces of the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add about one-third of the aubergine slices and fry them for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

With a fish slice or spatula, remove the aubergine slices from the pan and set them aside to drain on kitchen paper towels. Fry the remaining slices in the same way, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190 C).

In a medium-sized frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the minced lamb and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes, or until the meat is well browned. Stir in the tomatoes, chives, wine, lemon juice, sage, pepper, mixed spice or allspice and the remaining salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the breadcrumbs. Set aside.

To make the sauce, in a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl, mash the miz-ithra or ricotta cheese with a fork until it is smooth. Beat in the egg yolks to form a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the cream, and add the salt, nutmeg and grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese.

Arrange one-third of the aubergine slices on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Spread over half of the meat mixture and cover with another third of the aubergine slices. Spread over the remaining meat mixture and cover with the remaining aubergine slices. Pour over the sauce to cover the aubergine slices completely.

Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately, or cool and serve.

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