A taste of Greece in the Kalahari

Written by Zandre Strauss. Posted in Recipe

AGRI-PULSE – VRYBURG – In our neck of the woods steak is what we eat. Now or then we might add chicken – because you need vegetables too, don’t you?

But, as they say: A change is as good as a holiday. Another piece of proverbial gold is, of course ‘variety is the spice of life’. So, here you have it then: from the heart of ‘boerekos’, we bring you a little taste of Greece.
Moussaka is one of the most iconic Greek dishes. If you haven’t had it before, this is your opportunity. And, as any Greek will tell you, you haven’t really lived until you have tasted it. There are lots of variations of the traditional Moussaka with family recipes giving it a twist or two. The traditional Moussaka recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, ground lamb, a layer of potatoes, and a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce. However, Moussaka can also be made vegetarian for non-meat eaters.
Charlize van der Linden visited Vryburg resident, Stella Patsalos, for a taste of this classic Greek dish that can be enjoyed in winter and summer.
Stella, who is a Cypriot, immigrated with her parents at the young age of eight months to South Africa. Besides making mouthwatering Moussaka, Stella is very creative and as a hobby she decorates ceramic plates and sea stones. She also loves writing children’s stories, of which ‘The adventures of Songololo’ are but one.

Ingredients:

• 1 kg mince            • 4 medium potatoes
• 3 medium onions            • 3 large aubergines(eggplant)
• 115g tomato paste/puree        • ½ cup breadcrumbs
• Spices:                • 3t mixed spice
• 1t cinnamon            • nutmeg to taste
• salt + pepper            • olive oil



Béchamel sauce ingredients:

• 100g butter
• 1 ½ l full cream milk
• ¾ cup flour
• 2 eggs
• Parmesan or other grated cheese (optional)

Method:

Cook potatoes slightly. Slice aubergines lengthwise about 3 mm thick. Place slices on a tray and salt both sides. Put aubergines in a strainer for an hour to allow for juices to drip away. While waiting for the juices to drip away, peel and cut potatoes lengthwise about 3 mm thick. Drizzle olive oil over cut potatoes in a bowl, add salt and pepper and mi with the hands. Place potatoes on oven tray and bake in oven for 45 min at 180°. Place aubergines on oven tray and bake for 45 min at 180°. While the potatoes and aubergines are baking, chop onions in small cubes and place in a deep frying pan with olive or other oil. Add salt, pepper, 3t mixed spice, 1t cinnamon. When onions are glazed, add mince and stir. Dilute tomato puree with one cup water and add to mince once browned. Let all simmer on medium heat for 15 min. Add ½ cup breadcrumbs, mix well and put aside. When the potatoes and aubergines are ready, start layering potatoes, then auberginies and then mince in an oven dish about 40 x 35cm deep.

Béchamel sauce:

Beat two eggs in a cup and put aside. Melt 100g butter in a deep pot. Add ¾ cup flour and mix with butter until very light golden brown. Remove from heat and add 1 ½ litre milk. Return to heat and stir constantly until sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a sachet of Parmesan or other grated cheese to sauce and stir (optional). When sauce is thick, remove from heat and immediately place pot with sauce in a basin of cold water, just enough to cover the bottom half of the pot. Pour the eggs in the sauce while whisking. Remove from the water.
Now take the dish with layered potatoes, aubergines and mince and slowly pour Béchamel sauce over the mince and leave space in the dish for cooking. Sprinkle nutmeg over the sauce. Place dish in oven and bake for an hour or until golden brown at 180°.

Serve with a salad or any other side serving.

Volg die skakel https://bit.ly/littlegreeceinthekalahari en kuier saam met Stella Patsalos  en Agri-Pulse.

Read more HERE.