Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Shepherd’s Pie “Moussaka” – A Culinary “Mash-up” of two Old World Classics

For those of you that aren’t hip (like me…I don’t have an iPod which automatically makes me not hip), a “mash-up” usually refers to a DJ taking two different songs and mixing and “mashing” them together to produce a new musical creation. My personal favorite, the Jay Z/Linkin Park mash-up MTV did a few years ago. If you haven’t heard any of that, and you’re under 60 years old (Hi, Mom), then check it out, it’s great stuff. Big Pimpin for real. Anyway, in that same spirit of combining two great things to make a new even greater thing, I present today’s video recipe clip.

I love classic Greek “Moussaka.” Layers of lamb and eggplant, exotically spiced and topped with a rich, almost custard-like sauce. I also love a good Shepherd’s Pie, what’s not to like about a pie made out of ground meat and mashed potatoes? So, I thought I would try a Shepherd’s Pie using the flavor components of the Greek “Moussaka.” Did it work? Damn right! It was really good, and next to a green salad, made for a very satisfying supper on a foggy San Francisco night.

A few suggestions before you watch the clip. The potato topping I do is relatively bland since I was topping a very highly seasoned meat base. You should use my spice amounts below as a rough guide, and add the cumin, cinnamon and hot pepper in increments until you have something that tastes right to you. The lamb and eggplant mixture is NOT subtlety spiced in this dish, and the ingredient amounts reflect that fact. This dish should explode with exotic and aromatic flavor. To me that’s what makes the “crispy and browned on the top, but moist and tender underneath” potato topping such a great contrast. And don’t forget the fresh mint. As you hear me say in the clip, I used chocolate mint, which you can find at the better garden centers (or order the seeds online – it’s an amazing herb), but plain supper market mint will work beautifully. Enjoy!

2 lbs ground lamb
2 eggplant
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
3 russet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter
salt to taste
1 egg
fresh mint
2 tbl olive oil
Spice Mix:
2 bay leaves
3 tbl ground cumin
1 tbl cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbl black pepper
1 tbl salt (at least, taste and adjust)
2 tbl herb de provance (or Italian or Greek dried herb mix)
1 tbl paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
*Baked at 400F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown


Chef John said...

OK, yes, I saw it too... that damn 1/2 second blank frame in the middle of the clip. Oh, well, I think this one was actually close to a "real" clip! And thanks for the tip about putting a sock over the mic. Did it help? Did it need to be clean? Still much to learn...Sincere Thanks for all you folks offering all the great feedback and tips!! It makes going broke producing these clips so much more enjoyable.

Steffen P said...

This is recipe is so great, i will have to try this! Even if it means i'll need to go to the butcher, to get ground lamb, because grocerystores here in denmark don't sell it.

But again, awesome recipe and great clip. Beautefully made!

Unknown said...

..but we love you, Chef John, clean sock on your mic, or not!

Who says having money equates to happiness? We all know (well, maybe some don't) that real happiness is more about having something to share, like eating good food with a good friend. Thanks for helping everyone that comes here find 1/2 of that formula!

Anonymous said...

Great idea - it looks delicious! I'll join the "I'm not hip club" too as I don't have an iPod either. :)

Anonymous said...

All right, say I didn't know you liked Linkin Park. That's my fav. band. woo hoo Linkin Park rox ur soxx!!! XD And another thing when are you going to post the polled videos, and are you only going to post the one voted most? I can't decide which one to vote for. *sigh* :(

Chef John said...

Well, to be honest I'm more of a JayZ fan... But, that whole concert ROX ur SOX as you put so well. I will eventually do all those recipes, but it looks like Chicken Parm wins the contest for which one I do first. So you'll probably see that one Friday and the rest to follow. Keep watching and keep rockin! "...if youre feeling like a chef, go on brush your shoulders off..."

foodette said...

What a great idea for a "mash up". Maybe another one can be an enchilada lasagna?

Chef John said...

Great idea! Do you think if I do you could get Cypress Hill and Andrea Bocelli to do a mash-up of "Insane in the Membrane?" ;)

Anonymous said...

I am allergic to eggplant but the dish sounds so good! Can you suggest an alternative to the eggplant?
Thanks! =)

Chef John said...

zucchini or any summer squash would work, but they will not take as long to cook. enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

where can one buy chocolate mint?

P.S- this dish was amazing my roommates (and myself) loved it!


Chef John said...

Thanks!! Do a search for seed companies and nurseries. You can get seeds I'm sure. Or a local garden center will order for you. Grows quite easily and GREAT flavor.

TheEBlogger said...

I have just tried this recipe today. I actually used beef, I don't know if this has changed the taste drastically but because there was no pre-treatment for eggplants, it had a bitter taste to it.
I would suggest the old method of leaving eggplants in salt-water for 30 min and then cooking them.
Other than that awesome idea!

TheEBlogger said...

I just cooked it today but I think because there wasn;t any pre-treatment for eggplant, it had a bitter taste to it which really bothered me.I would suggest using old method of soaking eggplants in salt water for 30 min and then cook them. Other than that this is a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Just to answer a question some readers may have.

Q. How may shepherds does it take to make a shepherds pie?

A. Only one, if you slice him thinly enough.


Lauren said...

I find it amusing how you say "potato" and "tomato". My father, who grew up in Ohio, pronounces it the same way! Yet, his influence of word pronouncation did not travel my way...

Howard said...

I made this today. The meat mixture had a really bad mouth feel. Very slimy. I had to cut it with beef stock and a lot more tomato paste. I had drained the extra oil as suggested. Any idea what could have caused this? My 2c is on the cumin.

Νικόλαος Ἀγγελίδης said...

"Greek Moussaka" and layers of ground lamb just don't match.
Greek Moussaka is with a mince 50-50% beef and pork meat.

The lamb-version of it is just not traditionally Greek, a Moussaka though!

God bless you and your efforts.