My mum’s version of the traditional Greek dish Moussaka, was made with potato not Aubergine and has been an old favourite of mine since the early 1970’s. She was an amazing cook and introduced us to European and Asian cuisine when most of our peers were still eating the traditional British Classics . Her Moussaka recipe has passed along through the extended branches of our family, but sadly due to my recent diabetes diagnosis, I’m now having to CUT THE CARBS and therefore this old favourite is now a definite no no!
Not to be defeated, I decided to try a different variation using sweet potato and it worked brilliantly although as my hubby commented – “it’s not quite like the original” ! However, we both agree that it makes a very tasty and healthier alternative…
It is really easy to make – I didn’t admit that to Bryan though – I told him I’d been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon! In reality, it took me all of 5 minutes, as I already had the meat sauce made up in the freezer and therefore presented me with a free afternoon which I spent creating a new Vision Board (How to Create a Dream Vision Board) in my ‘Brilliance Within’ Hut (as can be seen in my post How to create a sense of vacation at home)
So – here is my adapted Sweet Potato Moussaka(ish) recipe and I hope you like it. Let me know how you get on if you try it! Comments much appreciated x
Meat Sauce – (this is the same as used in my mum’s original recipe and is the basis of lots of other recipes including Spaghetti Bolognaise, Lasagne and with a few variations Chilli Con Carne) – Enough for up to 6 portions – Now it’s just me and Bryan at home, I find it useful to make up the full quantity of meat sauce but then I divide into 3 portions – use 1 batch and freeze the other 2 for future use. If you aren’t using the full quantity of meat sauce, adjust the potato and white sauce quantities as necessary and use a smaller oven dish..
- 500 grams Minced Beef
- 1 finely chopped large onion
- 2 x tins chopped tomatoes & 2 x desert spoons of tomato puree
- Optional – Tomato passata – I add this in at the end of cooking to adjust the consistency if it seems a bit on the dry side (particularly for mousakka as the potatoes soak up the liquid in the meat sauce )
- 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic (adjust to suit your taste)
- Dried Mixed Herbs – I use around 1 tablespoon approx. – adjust to suit your taste..
- 1 teaspoon of English Mustard (or other mustards e.g. Dijon or even wholegrain but English is favourite – adds a bit of ‘piquant’)
- Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper – to taste
- 4 or 5 medium size sweet potatoes (up to the size of a baking potato) – wash then sliced into pieces – approximately 1/4 centimetre thick ( Better to be un-peeled)
- 300 gram Pot of Crème Fraiche and 300 gram Pot of natural Greek yoghurt (I use a 50/50 mix of the two) – mix with a heaped teaspoon of mustard.
- Grated Cheddar cheese – enough to add a generous topping as the final layer
- Fry the onions until they are colouring brown as this gives added flavour to the sauce
- Add the minced beef and fry brown with the onions
- When the meat and onion are nicely browned, add the garlic and fry for a further minute before adding the other ingredients (I add half the herbs and then adjust the quantity to suit my taste)
- Leave the sauce to simmer on a low light for around 10 minutes.
In the meantime:
- Wash and slice 4 medium sized sweet potatoes (start with 4 but you may need an extra 1 or 2 when you come to layer up)
- In an ovenproof casserole dish, cover the base of the dish with a layer of the sliced sweet potato then top with half of the meat sauce, followed by another layer of the sweet potato.
- Pour around 1/3 of the crème fraiche and greek yoghurt mix over the sweet potato and add another layer of meat sauce followed by a final layer of sweet potato.
- Pour over a generous topping of the crème fraiche/Greek yoghurt to well cover the potatoes. Finish off with a generous topping of grated cheddar cheese.
- Cook slowly in the oven – Gas Mark 5 (190 degree Celsius or 375 degree Fahrenheit) for approx. 1 hour then cover casserole with tin foil and return to the over – turned down to gas mark 4 for a further 45 mins or a bit longer until sweet potatoes have softened and the topping has browned. Remove the foil and to finish off the browning cook for the final 5 mins on a higher heat setting.
Salad (I like spinach leaf, tomato, cucumber and olives with a balsamic and lemon dressing and a bit of humous and/or feta cheese…)
And of course – a glass of red wine!
Mum’s original recipe (for those of you not cutting the carbs):
- Use normal sliced potatoes which have been peeled and then part-boiled for approx. 10 mins instead of the sweet potatoes
- Make a cheese sauce -to replace the creme fraiche/yoghurt mix.
- Remember that spoonful of mustard in the cheese sauce – it makes all the difference!