A while ago in Australia, we encountered a few cold nights. It was the end of the summer, but still got to 6°C. Kinda cold right? Definitely time for comfort food, and a nice little fire. We passed on the fire and got MOUSSAKA instead. Hell, yeah!
Basically I bought loads of eggplants. For the third week in a row. After a lot of baba ghanoush, I asked one of the chef where I was working -The Brewhouse Margaret River- what I should do with all these eggplants. He suggested moussaka… I literally had no idea what that was. He explained a bit, but I was still in no where lands.
I did my research on the Internets, and it looked so delicious! It takes origin in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, and is now one of the best known dish in Greece. It’s basically layers of potatoes, meat sauce, aubergines and sometimes a milk-based top layer.
I found many varieties of moussaka recipe on Pinterest. I decided to go for this Eggplant Moussaka with Chickpea Bechamel from Allyson, who write the inspiring Reclaiming Yesterday blog. I made it during that cold night I was talking about earlier, and it comforted my whole body down to my soul. It was so full of intricated flavors, and all the layers create a dozen different textures that come to life with each bite. All I could think of, as a comparison, is Greek Lasagna. Like the lasagna, it has a meat and tomato sauce, and abounds in delicious vegetables. Plus, the moussaka gives you room for several variations.
On the plus side, my better half get extremely excited when I mention cooking it. He can’t get enough!
Undoubtedly, I had to use this recipe again when I bought eggplant last week. It’s a bit of a bummer that the eggplant price was so high all winter, we are talking about 6-7$ each. But this kind of comfort food as no season to me, it’s indeed like lasagna. It’s good in the cold seasons but even better with a fresh salad when it’s hot. And that’s what I did, a light spinach salad en accompagnement.
Like always, there is a few things I changed from the original recipe. The first time I did it, I did not put zucchinis and went for only eggplants. Plus I did the béchamel differently. Instead of mixing Parmesan in, I added feta, and choose organic coconut milk to go with it. It turned out incredible, but the top layer did not turned crispy on the outside because of the cheese replacement. I superseded that downside with a layer of crumbled feta on top. Broil it for a few minutes at the end of the baking time, and got a good crispy top. Mission accomplished. This was a hell of a good dinner.
Last week, I thought I would try it with zucchinis, and see if we can reach a new level of greatness. Not happening. The zucchinis were 19$/kg. WHAT!? How is that even possible? So, it was another go at the all eggplant moussaka. I still went for feta in the béchamel and on top, but went for standard cow milk as coconut milk is also super pricey. Not much change from my first attempt, and the taste was still incredible.
This recipe has now entered our Pantheon of Comfort Food. I will be doing this for many years to come. Like Lasagna 😉
Try this recipe to include some change in your week nigh meals. Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below!