At last. Success.
Last year sometime my mum and I shared a vegetarian moussaka made by Marks and Spencers. It was superb. By far the best ready made meal I had/have ever ever tasted. Not content with the knowledge that I could simply pop downtown and pick up another ready made meal, I decided that I was going to master the dish myself.
Easier said than done, I must say. It’s taken several months, a ton of lentils, a lot of tantrums and more than one grimace from D, but I have, at last, created a vegetarian moussaka that is every bit as delicious (dare I say, perhaps even more) than the Markies version.
Phew. Think I deserve a drink now. :)
(serves 4 generously)
2 aubergines, sliced finely
75g brown lentils
75g puy lentils
2 onions, one halved and the other chopped
2 bay leaves
2 red peppers, chopped finely
1 stick of celery, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tspn dried thyme
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Glass of wine
Dash of Worchestershire Sauce
600 ml bechamel sauce
150g feta, grated
2 egg whites
Parmesan cheese, grated
- Griddle or fry the aubergine slices in olive oil for a few minutes on each side until browned and almost cooked through. Set aside until ready to assemble the moussaka.
- Make the bechamel sauce (I always use this method) and stir though the feta cheese. Set aside.
- Add the brown lentils and puy lentils to seperate pans along with half an onion and a bay leaf each. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until cooked – approximately 25 mins for brown and 40 for puy. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid but discarding the bay leaves and onions.
- Meanwhile, gently fry the onion in a glug of olive oil for 10 minutes until translucent. Add the pepper and celery and fry for another 10 minutes. The onion should be golden and the pepper and celery almost cooked through. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minutes more.
- Add the cooked lentils to the vegetables and stir well. Add the tomatoes and wine. Stir well, increase heat and bring to the boil, adding some of the lentil cooking liquid if the mixture is too dry.
- Add Worchestershire sauce and seasoning to taste and set aside.
- Optional – whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Use a large metal spoon to stir through the bechamel sauce. This creates a really light and puffy sauce. Normal bechamel is great too, of course.
- Assemble the moussaka – one layer of aubergine, a thick layer of the lentil mixture, another layer of aubergine, bechamel sauce and a generous topping of parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a 180oC oven for 35 minutes until golden and bubbling.