Today, my good friend Mardi from eat. live. travel. write. is kind enough to share her recipe for spicy merguez moussaka! If you’re not already familiar with her blog, I’d highly recommend checking it out. In addition to mouthwatering recipes, she often enlightens me on the ins and outs of wine pairings (which I am not so good at!). I am also a big fan of her Les Petits Chefs – a group of her students who prepare some pretty awesome recipes (like steamed vegetable dumplings!) under her magnificent guidance. Sometimes I wish I could enroll as a student at her school just so I could participate!
Thank you, Mardi, for stopping by and sharing your recipe!
Hi I’m Mardi from eat. live. travel. write. and I am so happy to help Jen out while she recovers from surgery. I had the pleasure of meeting Jen last summer when I was in Philadelphia for a couple of conferences and we had a fabulous time chatting, shopping, cooking and taking photos!
I’ve chosen to share a recipe I created recently for May’s Charcutepalooza challenge where we had to make sausage meat from scratch. One of the meats that we were asked to work with was lamb, to make a spicy merguez sausage (which is not so easily available here but which I ate quite a lot in Paris when I lived there, mostly in the form of “merguez-frites” – a delicious sandwich of sausage and fries in pita bread!). This recipe is a take on the Greek classic – moussaka – which typically uses regular ground lamb. It can sometimes taste bland which is why I figured a spicy sausage meat might work well to liven it up a little. We found our merguez wasn’t quite as spicy as we would have liked so I encourage you to cook a tiny amount of the ground meat you plan to use before you make this dish to check seasoning and spiciness. In any case, this was a successful dish and I loved that I knew the origin of my sausage meat :) One animal only!
Spicy merguez moussaka
For the moussaka:
2 medium eggplant
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
1 can (796 mls/ 28 fl oz) chopped tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
700g merguez sausage meat (you can use regular lamb mince if you don’t have access to merguez – this will make regular moussaka, not spicy)
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
700g potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
75 grams all purpose flour
600 mls milk
75 grams sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
For the meat layer:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cut the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
In the pan you cooked the eggplant in, brown the merguez meat, then add the cilantro, nutmeg and cinnamon and cook until well combined.
Add the tomato/ onion sauce and combine well. Set aside.
For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly over a low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking to avoid the sauce becoming lumpy.
Return the pan to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continually until thickened.
Remove from the head and whisk in the cheese, egg yolks and mustard until smooth.
Season to taste.
Assemble the dish:
Layer half the eggplant in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
Top with the lamb and tomatoes.
Add a layer of potatoes and top with the rest of the eggplant.
Add the sauce:
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and fold into the sauce.
Pour over the moussaka.
Place the ovenproof dish on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 at 350F then increase the heat to 375F for 15 minutes, or until the top is crispy and golden brown.
Serve with a green salad. Enjoy!
This is a perfect dish to serve in the summer because it doesn’t take so long to cook and doesn’t have to be served piping hot.