Turkey moussaka

Indulge in Neven Maguire's poultry version of this sunny Greek classic
Turkey moussaka
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 175 ml approx olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 750 g lean minced turkey
  • 175 ml white wine
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 x 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 aubergines
  • plain flour, for dusting

For the cheese sauce

  • 75 g unsalted butter
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 900 ml milk
  • 75 g parmesan, grated
  • 100 g gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks

Tips and Suggestions

Moussaka can be frozen before or after baking for up to three weeks. In both cases, leave the dish to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil and store in the freezer.

Defrost it overnight in the fridge. For unbaked moussaka, simply follow the cooking instructions given at left. To reheat defrosted baked moussaka, cover the dish loosely with foil and place in a preheated oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 40-45 minutes or until the layers are hot right through.

Method

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add the onion and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the onion is softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and cook half the minced turkey over a fairly high heat until lightly browned, breaking up any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining turkey. Deglaze the pan with a little of the white wine, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to remove any sediment.

3. Stir the cinnamon, allspice, oregano, bay leaves and thyme into the onion mixture and cook for a minute or so, stirring. Add the cooked turkey and the reduced wine, along with the remaining wine and the chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the turkey is completely tender and the sauce is slightly reduced.

4. Meanwhile, cut the aubergines into 1cm slices and layer up in a colander, sprinkling with salt as you go. Set aside on the draining board of the sink for 30 minutes to allow the salt to draw out any bitter juices.

5. For the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a non-stick pan and stir in the flour. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring continuously until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat again and stir in 50g of the Parmesan and 50g of the Gruyère until melted. Season to taste and set aside to cool a little, then whisk in the egg and egg yolks to combine.

6. Heat a large frying pan. Rinse the aubergine under cold running water and pat dry with plenty of kitchen paper. Dust with flour. Add a couple of tablespoons of the oil to the frying pan and, working in batches, fry the aubergine for 8-10 minutes until cooked through and lightly golden, turning once. Add more oil to the pan as necessary. Drain the cooked aubergine on kitchen paper.

7. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Spoon a third of the turkey mixture into the base of a 30cm x 20cm ovenproof dish, discarding the bay leaves. Cover with half the aubergine slices. Repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of the turkey mixture. Pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and Gruyère on top and bake for 50-60 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.

8. Allow the moussaka to settle for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving on warmed plates with a chunky Greek salad.

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