Lamb moussaka must be one of my all time favourite dishes! The richness of lamb, simmered gently in a velvety tomato ragout is matched perfectly by a sumptuous smothering of decadent cheese-sauce. Combine this with melt-in-the-mouth slices of slow-baked aubergine, and you’re in food heaven! (Traditional recipe under the following hyperlink: Classic Lamb & Aubergine Moussaka).
Can something so delicious have a down-side? Regrettably yes. The full version, whilst unbeatable in taste; can be time-consuming. This one factor alone sometimes inhibits me preparing it, as time can often be in short supply & I need something fast to feed the ravening hoards!
Well this simple twist will deliver all the taste of the original; just in a fraction of the time! That has to be a winner in my book! And like all recipes on this blog, it’s low carb and suitable for diabetics, keto- & paleo-dieters and those with a gluten-intolerance or coeliacs. There’s no excuse therefore – give it a go!
Start by slicing your aubergines into thin, half-centimetre slices. I used two aubergines for four people. Tumble these into the base of an oven dish then glug on some olive-oil and season well. Stir through with your hands to ensure that the slices are all evenly coated, then into a hot oven they go for half an hour to roast through.
Whilst the aubergines are cooking, place a heavy casserole onto the hob and add a small spoonful of oil. Season your lamb-mince with sea-salt and black-pepper; then add this to the pan, enjoying the ‘sizzle’ as the meat hits hot metal. Seal this thoroughly, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking; then add in a finely sliced onion, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and any other vegetables you have which need to be used up!
Sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes or so, then pour in a good glug of port or red wine for richness. Given the succulence of lamb, you’ll likely not achieve the whooshing sizzle of the traditional de-glazing process; the wine is there more for taste than any other additional benefits! Follow the wine with a dash of balsamic vinegar, crumble in 2 stock-cubes for background ‘warmth’ and add a generous spoonful of dried herbs (rosemary or oregano are just perfect!).
Then drain a can of tinned tomatoes (pouring off the liquid) and add this to the pan. Keep the mix on the simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced down and all ingredients have thoroughly cooked through. Then squeeze in a good squirt of unsweetened tomato purée and incorporate lavishly with a wooden spoon. Taste to adjust the seasoning, adding more herbs, salt, stock-cubes or pepper as appropriate. When done to your satisfaction, lift the pan off the heat, ready to assemble the finished dish.
Whilst the mince-ragout is on the simmer, pour a cupful of double cream into a saucepan. Follow this with half a cup of water, one cup of grated cheese (cheddar, parmesan or mix of both) and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Season well, then place onto the hob on a low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick and smooth. The reason you add the water is to help gauge when it’s ready. Once the water has evaporated (circa 10 minutes), you’ll end up back with the consistency of double cream. If you didn’t put the water in, the reduction would have nowhere to go and the pan’s contents would burn. When ready, simply remove from the heat and commence to layer up your ‘upside-down’ moussaka.
Take the aubergine out of the oven and pour your mince all over the top to form a lavish blanket. There’s no separation or fiddly layering here – the aubergine stays on the bottom, hence the name ‘upside down moussaka’! Follow the mince with your cheese sauce then a generous grating of cheese. Into the oven it goes for a final 15 minutes to turn the top golden and bubblingly brown.
I served this with cauliflower rice (instructions here: cauliflower rice recipe) but the dish is equally delicious on its own or accompanied by a fresh green salad!
The dish may take half the time to prepare as the original; but I’ll warrant it’ll be consumed every bit as quickly! The only short-cut here is time – it’ll taste as if you’ve toiled for hours! Sublime!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!