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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zucchini Moussaka

There has been an atomic explosion of zucchini in the gardens which has called for some creativity. Zucchini are best eaten when they are smaller, but I've managed to turn a few large ones into a suitable moussaka dish.

Zucchini Moussaka (Serves 8 – 12)

60 mL olive oil
2 large zucchini
8 minced garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
10 mL dried oregano
1 kg ground lamb
60 mL tomato puree
300 mL water
300 mL red wine
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Potatoes for the bottom, sliced and roasted until tender but not quite cooked

1 L milk
120 g butter
120 g gluten free flour mix (starch and flour mixture)
100 g parmeggiano
4 eggs, separated and egg whites beaten till stiff
Nutmeg, to grate or 5 - 10 mL

Zucchini - Salt zucchini and let them drain in a colander for about an hour. In the meantime, start the meat sauce as you will use any excess fat from the meat to gently fry the zucchini.

Meat – Heat 30 mL oil in frying pan and cook onion until soft. Add garlic, cinnamon stick and oregano and cook a further few minutes. Stir in lamb. Turn up heat and brown lamb well, cooking until mixture is quite dry. If the lamb gives off a lot of fat, like mine did, drain the lamb and reserve the fat. You will use it for cooking the zucchini and potatoes. Push the meat to one side of the dish and add the tomato paste. Cook for a minute or two to reduce the acidity. Stir in the water and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn heat down low and cook for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and stir in parsley.

Zucchini - To fry the zucchini, use a non stick pan a a small amount of the fat. The trick is to fry it until golden marks appear in order to bump up the flavour of the zucchini in the dish. When the zucchini has been cooked, put it back into the collander to drain. Overgrown zucchini give off a lot of water and it's best to drain as much as possible.

Potatoes – Pour some of the fat from the meat into a plastic bag and add salt and pepper. Toss in the sliced potatoes and roast in 450 degree oven. Use the same pan as the one for the final moussaka to save on dishes!

Béchamel – Melt butter in saucepan. Stir flour into butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warm milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in cheese until melted. Take off heat and allow it to cool slightly, then add in egg yolks and stir well. Fold in beaten egg whites. Salt to taste and add nutmeg. Add a large generous spoonful to the meat mixture to smooth it out.

Arrange Dish – Layer potatoes on the bottom, then zucchini then meat. There should be enough for two zucchini layers. Repeat and top with béchamel and sprinkle with cheese and some nutmeg. Bake for about 45 (hour if larger) minutes until well browned, then leave to cool for half an hour before serving.

Gluten Free Flour Mix - I mix half starches, such as rice and corn and half flours such as millet, corn or brown rice flour to make a total amount.