Posts Tagged ‘beef brisket ragu’

When eggplants were in season at the end of last year, I picked up a ten kilo box at the markets for $8.

That’s a lot of eggplant!  After passing a few to my neighbour Maude, I cut the rest into long slices and brushed them (top and bottom) with a little olive oil.  These were then laid out on a parchment lined baking tray, sprinkled with a little sea salt, and baked until dark and caramelised.

We’d seen frozen char-grilled eggplant for sale, and thought it was worth experimenting to see if we could freeze our own. Slices were interleaved with a square of parchment paper and then packed into a small plastic container.

It’s now been a couple of months, and the freezing process has been a great success.  The whole container needs to be defrosted each time – the slices won’t separate without tearing otherwise.  I’ve used them to make eggplant parmigiana, pasta melanzane, as well as the beef brisket moussaka I blogged about recently…

This isn’t a proper moussaka, or even really a proper recipe, but rather a simple layering of flavours.  Here’s how we make it…

Potatoes – boil or microwave peeled whole potatoes until tender but firm, then slice into discs.  Grease a large baking dish (I use a square ceramic one) and lay the potato slices out in a single layer.

Meat Filling – this was made with our slow cooked brisket, but could just as easily be made with mince.  If using mince, we usually add it to the pan after the onions and before the wine, ensuring that the meat is browned before the wine is added.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan, then slowly sweat a chopped onion until translucent and very soft. Add a little red wine, stir well, and allow to reduce.  Then add garlic, chopped zucchini (optional), fresh oregano and a tin or two of pulped tomatoes.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then stir in the cooked meat. Allow to reduce further if necessary, then spoon the filling evenly over the potato slices.

Eggplant –  lay the defrosted roasted eggplant slices over the meat.

White Sauce – Pete’s white sauce formula is as follows:

  • 50g butter
  • 3 cups milk (UHT, at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 2 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour, whisking to combine.  Continue whisking for a minute or so to cook the flour slightly, then add the milk and continue whisking until it just comes to a boil.  Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and then quickly whisk in the egg yolks, followed by the pecorino cheese.

Ladle the sauce over the eggplants, then bake in a preheated 180C (fan) oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

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