Sunday, October 31, 2010

The best vegan moussaka you will ever eat

A few days ago I accidentally saw a tv show by Master Chef's winner Julie Goodwin called Home Cooked. In this particular episode she was making moussaka. I love a good moussaka and the best one I have ever tried is in Veganomicon but the only problem is that it takes AGES to make and assemble. Julie's recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to cook. It seemed pretty simple to veganise, so I gave it a go a few nights ago and was super impressed with the results.
The recipe goes a little like this......

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1cm thick slices
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 pack sanitarium vege mince
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup red wine or veg stock
1 can whole peeled tomatoes

B├ęchamel Sauce
3 Tbs Nuttelex

3 Tbs  plain flour
1.5 cups water (or soy milk if you like)
½ cup nutritional yeast

Salt the eggplant slices on both sides and lay between 2 layers paper towel for around 15 minutes. Wipe carefully with fresh paper towel to remove salt and liquid that has been drawn out of the eggplant. Fry in batches in vegetable oil over medium-high heat until browned; drain on paper towel.

In the same pan, add a little more oil and brown the vege mince, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon until crumbly and browned. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in cinnamon and allspice and cook for another minute. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Pour in canned tomato  and red wine/stock and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the meat sauce is quite a dry mixture; around 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180° C /160° C (fan forced).
Melt nuttelex in a medium saucepan and stir in flour. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until thick, smooth and coming away from the sides of the pan. (This is called a roux.) Add a little of the water/milk and stir quickly; the mixture will form a dough immediately. Keep stirring and adding water/milk a little at a time. Once all the milk is added, stir (using a wire whisk if there are any lumps) and allow the sauce to thicken and the flour to fully cook. Stir in nutritional yease. Taste and add salt if required.
To assemble, place a layer of eggplant slices into the base of a 24x36cm baking dish. Top with half the "meat" mixture. Repeat with eggplant and sauce and finish with a layer of eggplant slices. Pour over the b├ęchamel sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, almond meal and some pine nuts. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

I'm definitely more of a Poh fan but Julie has won my vote with this recipe!