Shepherd’s mousakka

I wrote up a recipe a week or so ago that was a mix between a lasagne and a mousakka. This is half shepherd’s pie, half mousakka – basically because there was lamb mince, left over mashed potato, and lots of aubergines in the house. I made a veggie version for my sister in law, which was just the same recipe but with quorn mince, but the recipe below is with meat.

My older brother tells me that the root of the word mousakka is the Arabic word musaqa’ – meaning ‘cold’. So, basically, it’s called that because it’s a dish that is still OK when cold. I’m not sure if that applies when it’s got mashed potato on top.

Ingredients:

I haven’t put quantities in, coz it doesn’t really matter – play around with it and do what you like.

– Onion

– Garlic

– Carrot

– Tinned tomato

– Lamb mince (though also works with beef, or quorn)

– A red pepper

– Aubergine

– A big wedge of brie, a lump of cheddar

– Cumin, nutmeg, balsamic vinegar.

This dish requires you to do various different things. You can either do them one after the other – which will take ages – or do them all at once – which requires keeping an eye on various things at once. Ideally, you’ll do it as a team activity, taking on different tasks each. Below, I discribe each of the seperate tasks, I’ll leave you to work out how you’re gonna get them all done.

Put some potatoes on to boil (I had leftover mash tonight, but I guess you’ll have to make it from scratch). At some point during the following process, these will be done – take them off and mash them (with the skins on) when they are (adding milk, butter, pepper and salt to taste).

Then, do your aubergines (or, if you have a helper, get them to do this) while you do the rest of it.

Cut the aubergine into thin slices the whole length and breadth of the fruit. Fry these in plenty of hot oil – I used corn oil tonight and that worked really well, but you can also use anything else that will get properly hot – vegetable oil or sunflower oil. Turn them once or twice until they are a rich brown on both sides. Once you’ve done all of the slices, leave them on a plate.

Make your mince suace.

You can basically use any tomatoey mince sauce for this. Here’s what I did tonight:

Fry an onion and 3 cloves of garlic in a pan at a medium heat until they are transluscent. Add some chunks of carrot. After a few mins of frying the carrot, add in your mince, and turn the heat up until it’s brown, then turn it down again. Throw in lots of cumin and nutmeg. Chuck in a tin or two of tomatoes and a stock cube (ideally lamb, but veg is fine too). Leave it on the hob for a while, till the taste is much stronger. Chuck in vinegar (and/or red wine) to taste.

The cheese:

Slice the brie into the longest thinest slices you can.

Building your dish:

Pour half of the mince into the bottom of a roasting tray. Put the aubergine over the top – if there’s lots, pile it up, if there’s less, just have a thin layer. Either is great. Pile the rest of the mince over the top. Lay the slices of brie over the top of this. Finally, pile the mashed potato on top of this, spreading it out with a fork. Grate plenty of cheddar across the top.

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