We were recently inspired by some friends who went to a lot of effort recently to cook an authentic Moussaka for us. We realised that this would be a great way to use courgettes, which are still gloriously in season, and having eaten a lot of meat recently, we welcomed the idea of a vegetarian recipe.
A traditional Moussaka will take a considerable time to prepare and you need to meticulously create all the constituent parts (the vegetables, the meat, the white sauce). We have employed some cheat techniques, that although may not be very authentic, have helped to speed up the cooking time e.g. making a white sauce from Greek yoghurt and eggs, rather than from scratch. So you can still make this on a weekday night, as long as you get out the office on time.
In this recipe (for 6 people), we grill our courgettes and aubergine, although feel free to griddle them instead if you prefer. Remember to oil the vegetables and not the griddle pan to avoid filing your kitchen with smoke.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 400g new potatoes
- 2 large courgettes
- 1 aubergine
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 500g Greek yoghurt (Fage 0% worked well for us)
- 2 eggs
- 150g cheddar – grated
- 2 tsp (heaped) ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp (heaped) oregano
- Olive oil
- Maldon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the vegetables by cut the potatoes into ½cm slices; and cut the courgettes and aubergine lengthways into 1 cm slices. Put the potatoes into a pan of salted, boiling water and cook for 5 – 8 minutes, until just tender, then drain and set aside.
- Lay the aubergines and courgettes out on baking trays, drizzle with a little olive oil and give a good seasoning of salt and pepper then grill, flipping when each side gets a good amount of colour. You can also griddle your vegetables instead, if you’d prefer – you’ll need to coat the vegetables in a little oil, but not the griddle pan. Once grilled (or girddled) on both sides, cut each slice into bit-sized pieces.
- Whilst the vegetables are being grilled, mix the cinnamon and oregano into the chopped tomatoes. Separately, beat the eggs and then mix into the greek yoghurt, which will form your cheat version of a béchamel sauce. This should then be seasoned with a large pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
- Once your grilling has been completed, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC.
- Now that all the constituent elements are prepared, it’s time for the assembly. Start by mixing the courgettes and aubergine pieces into the tomato sauce. Tip all this into the bottom of a large serving dish and spread evenly.
- Add a layer of the sliced potatoes.
- Cover with the yoghurt-egg mixture and carefully spread evenly over the Moussaka. Finally top with grated cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top and serve with crusty bread and a salad.