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Artichoke Moussaka

Published on 02.03.2016 under Mediterranean Recipes

 

 

If you have tried moussaka and you loved it, why not make an interesting alternative with sophisticated artichoke instead of humble eggplant? 

 

My love for artichokes started in a very young age ( approx 4 y.o ) when I tried them raw with some lemon - granpa served so that's why I gave them a try I guess. Mom would have no hope!

Then I tried artichokes with peas and decided I liked them even more and that was it. 

 

Some years ago, I visited a charming village of Peloponnese, near Nafplio, where there was the famous "Artichoke Festival" . The main idea was a big fiest with all villagers - it wasn't that famous outside Peloponnese, I guess- where you could enjoy folk dances and songs , plenty of wine, exchanging ideas with authentic people and of course, a big and generous dinner with one special characteristic: All dishes shared the same material - ARTICHOKES!

 

It was an excellent opportunity for me to try all other options: 

 

- stuffed with minced meat

- raw, thin sliced with lemon ( like my grandpa's idea)

- fried artichokes

- with lemon and peas

- with tomato sauce and wine

- as a spread  instead of tzatziki

- instead of eggplant in moussaka ( YEAH !)

 

That was it! My love for artichokes grew even bigger. 

 

I asked the Cook how she prepared the moussaka - all the other recipes were much easier to guess, but she refused to give me the recipe! 

The disappointment didn't last for long, since a really nice old lady who overheard the dialogue with the Cook, decided to do me the favour and gave me the recipe.

 

So, here are the INGREDIENTS for 6 portions: 

 

 

- Approx 10-12 big fresh artichokes.

- Fresh juice of 1 lemon

 

- 700/800 gr minced meat beef and pork 

- 3 fresh onions, finely chopped

- 1 dry onion, chopped

- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

- 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped and passed through your blender

- 1 full spoon of pepper paste

- 1 shotglass of extra virgin olive oil

- 1 spoon of sea salt 

- 1 teaspoon pepper

- 1 teaspoon thyme in olive oil

- 1/2 teaspoon oregano in olive oil

- a pinch of cinnamon

- 200ml red wine

 

 For the Bechamel sauce: 

 

- 70ml extra virgin olive oil

- 2 fullspoons of all purpose flour

- 4 spoons cornflour

- 700ml warm milk

- 1 cup of freshly trimmed  graviera piccante cheese

- 1 egg yolk

- a pinch of nutmeg powder

- 1 teaspoon sea salt

- 1/2 teaspoon freshly groung black pepper

 

 

PREPARATION

 

 

- Clean the artichokes ( do not forget to use gloves), put them in casserole with cold water and add the lemon juice.

- Boil in medium heat until they begin to soften evenly - be careful not to let them for too long or they will start to dissolve.

- Drain them very well and put aside.

 

- Clean the casserole, drizzle the olive oil and when it starts to smoke, put the minced meat and saute. When it starts to smell like roast, add the fresh and dry onions and your garlic and saute until soften. 

- Pour in the wine and let it evaporate.

- Dissolve the herbs and spices in your tomato sauce and add the pepper paste

- Add to your casserole and let it cook for approximately 15-20 minutes. If needed, add a little water.

 

When ready, remove from the heat.

 

 

Prepare the bechamel:

 

- In a small casserole, put the olive oil until it starts to get warm and dissolve little by little the flours

- Mix gently until they turn slightly golden brown

- Pour in the milk and continue mixing.

- Lower the heat and boil for 4-5 minute.

- Mix until it becomes even and smooth.

- Add the salt and pepper, nutmeg and the eggyolk and start mixing quick.

- Remove from fire when ready. 

- Add the cheese.

 

FINAL STEP:

 

- Preheat the oven at 350 F. 

- Grease a large pan with olive oil. 

- Start by putting the artichokes first - side by side.

- Then add the meat, you can stuff the artichokes for better optical result.

- Finish by adding the bechamel, be careful to pour it evenly.

- Cook for 35-40 minutes until the mechamel is golden brown.

- Let it rest for 20 minutes before serving. 

 

 

And there you go ! You have the most amazing moussaka ready for your table! 

 

ENJOY, 

 

 

Love, 

 

 

Katsikaki ( aka Baby Goat ) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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