All recipes paired with wine, Ground meat, Lamb

Not so Greek Musaka

This meal is not so easy to arrange nicely (sorry for the pic) but trust me, super delicious to eat!
Yeah, my apology to Greek’s traditionalists, I dare twisted the famous Greek meal. I know that the original musaka is layered with a thin slices of eggplant like lasagna. Not that it wasn’t good enough for me, I just wanted to try something different.

I have to say, it came out so good, we couldn’t get enough of it! Super comfy food especially now, in this cold and snowy weather. If lamb meat has too strong a flavor for you, you can mix it half and half with beef. I had 100% lamb and it was divine!

Twisted Musaka

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 medium size eggplant chopped into little cubes
3 tbs dry oregano
1 cup red wine
1 tbs Cinnamon
salt and pepper
Fresh thyme – few sprigs
1 large can of crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 lb small shape pasta (your choice)
olive oil

Spread chopped eggplant onto baking sheet, covered with paper towel, season with salt and let sweat for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry with another paper towel.

In the large heavy bottom pot heat olive oil and saute onions until soft, for few minutes. Add all the meat and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, brown the meat until cooked. Add finely chopped garlic and spices.

Pour in red wine, mix together and let cook for a minute. Add tomatoes (break them up in your hand) and cubes of eggplant. Let mixture cook, uncovered, for at least one hour or until reduced (to about half) and thickened.

In the meantime bring water to boil in the large pot, season with salt and cook about pasta to “al dente”. Drain, add a table spoon of olive oil and mix together. Set aside.

When the sauce is cooked, reserve 1 cup of meaty sauce on the side. Pour pasta into the sauce and mix together so the hot sauce coat the pasta well.

Pour the pasta mixture in a prepared large baking dish. No need to grease it first.

For a cheesy cover:
1 table spoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup of Greek yoghurt
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

Cook flour on melted butter and mix, creating the roux. Pour in milk and mix until thick, making Béchamel sauce. Add almost all the Parmesan cheese, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix and let cool. Add 2 whole eggs to warm (not hot) sauce and reserved cup of meaty sauce. Mix in Greek yoghurt. Stir and pour all over the meaty sauce with pasta in the baking dish.

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour in oven. Serve in the baking dish and let all your guests dig in right away and help themselves. You don’t want to miss that amazing aroma when you first cut into the cheese crust and it opens the layers of delicious, cooked lamb mixture with wine and all the spices.

As I said at the beginning, this dish isn’t easy to arrange for photo shoot. But trust me, you will be reaching for a second serving!
It makes my mouth watering just writing about it. I wish somebody invented a pictures on web with aroma attached.

Wine suggestion:
You can open any big red that you were longing to drink for a very long time. It’s a comfort food time! Spicy Malbec, delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, Brunello, Barolo, GSM – many choices here. I have paired this dish with one of the best Syrah based wines I ever tasted – Finca Sandoval from Manchuela, Spain. The pairing with rich flavors of lamb and spices of this dish was out of this world!