Mmmm-moussaka! Mushrooms, mince and melty cheese, what's not to love? Even the most staunch anti-auberginers (those poor berated brinjals) will be tempted by this dish.
This is my latest recipe in the #JoinTheBlendTrend series, and the amazing thing about it is that you would never guess that the filling was 50% mince and 50% mushrooms. Thanks to their flavour and texture the mushrooms blend perfectly with the mince, lowering the calorie content of the dish while stretching it into more portions and giving it a fantastic flavour. This moussaka is very delicately flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg and I would gladly tuck into a bowl of it any day!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a subject that is close to home for many of us, and you may have noticed that your mushroom punnets are looking a little different this month! Pink punnets are filling the shelves to create awareness of the potential role of mushrooms against breast cancer and to raise funds for silicone breast prostheses for disadvantaged women who cannot afford them or reconstructive surgery.
I was amazed when I recently found out that studies conducted at the Beckman Institute at City of Hope Cancer Centre, California with the University of Australia, Sydney in collaboration with Zhejiang University, China have found that women who eat on average 10 grams of mushrooms daily seem to halve their risk of breast cancer! In this series I have highlighted many of the reasons why adding mushrooms to your meals is beneficial, but this one is a biggie. So hug an aubergine, get your gorgeous paws on some mushrooms and make some moussaka for your nearest and dearest this week!
Lovely readers, you can support SAMFA's The Power of Pink promotion this month by stocking up on pink mushroom punnets - not only will you be making a healthy choice but supporting those affected by this devastating disease. Pink mushroom punnets are available at Pick 'n Pay. R1 from the sale of each 250g punnet will be donated to Reach For Recovery.
A few notes from the kitchen:
- I like to use a combination of brown and white mushrooms in this recipe, but feel free to use your favourite variety!
- You can also top the dish with grated cheddar cheese instead of parmesan if you prefer.
- This dish works equally well when made in a large ovenproof dish, or in individual ramekins. If you decide to make individual portions simply use 4 x 300ml ramekins and reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp crushed garlic
250g mushrooms, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg
125ml white wine
1 x 410g tin chopped tomatoes
2 large aubergines
olive oil for drizzling
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Step 1.) Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mince to the pan and brown.
Step 2.) Add the mushrooms, cinnamon, oregano and nutmeg to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer until most of the liquid has reduced.
Step 3.) Add the tin of tomatoes, stir well and then leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Check the seasoning.
Step 4.) Cut the aubergines into 1 cm slices. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a frying pan, then fry the aubergine slices for 3-4 minutes per side until golden. (It is easiest to do this in batches.) Set aside.
Step 5.) Prepare the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the flour. Return to the heat and cook for a minute before gradually adding the milk, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cheddar cheese until smooth.
Step 6.) To assemble: Preheat your oven to 180°C. You will want to remove the cinnamon stick from the mince and mushroom mixture at this point. Layer the aubergines and mushroom filling in a large ovenproof dish. I like to start with a layer of aubergines at the bottom, followed by half of the mushroom mixture, then another aubergine layer followed by the other half of the mushroom mixture, and finally another aubergine layer on top. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the layers. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top, then pop in the oven for 45 minutes. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by MushroomsSA. Recipe and images are my own and were created for the #JoinTheBlendTrend campaign.