This dish represents true traditional Cretan cuisine, using surplus produce from the garden, albeit a little fussy to make, the results are always well worth the effort. Saying that, I usually make extra portions to pop in the freezer.
700 gr minced meat 1/2 `n 1/2 beef and turkey
2 cups tomato grated
1 medium onion
Bunch parsley chopped finely
Glass of white wine
Sprinkle of ground cumin
2 Bay leaves
1 garlic clove
S & P
2/3 large aubergines
5/6 large courgettes
Olive oil for frying
Ingredients for Bechamel Sauce
2 “full” tablespoons butter
2 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 litre warmed milk
2 egg yolks
S & P (pref. ground)
200 gr cheese (optional)
Prepare first the minced meat sauce. Fry onions till translucent, add chopped garlic, then the minced meat, stirring constantly. Throw in the remaining flavourings, frying at medium to hot heat for a couple of minutes, add the wine, allowing the alcohol to evaporate slightly. Lastly add the pureed tomato, lower the temperature and allow to cook for at least 45 minute, which gives you time to prepare the vegetables and bechamel.
Slice aubergines and courgettes lengthwise, thickness approx 1/2 to 1 cm thick. Stack your aubergine slices in the order you slice them, to avoid blackening of the flesh. Fry the slices till lightly browned in olive oil, salting slightly. Lay on absorbent kitchen roll to strain.
Melt the butter on a medium heat, add the flour, stirring constantly, a wooden spoon is better to start off your sauce. Change your tool to a hand whisk, pour in the warmed milk steadily, simultaneously whisking briskly. Once your sauce is thickening, add your egg yolks one at a time , whisking quickly so as to disperse the yolk before it sets. Add S & P. If necessary, reduce the heat a tadge. Stir in a little grated melting cheese if desired. Once melted, remove from the heat.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs in your baking tray/individual ceramic bowls. Lay in first your fried vegetables, spoon over the minced meat sauce, then the bechamel. At this point, if you`ve made extra portions for the freezer, put these to one side to cool. The portions for today, go into pre-heated oven to approx. 190 degrees centigrade, till browned. Serve hot or cooled, but a little grated cheese on the surface whilst hot, adds the finishing touch.
Two for the freezer, one for the table.
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If you prefer, you can make with just one of the vegetables, or add potatoes, sliced and fried in the same manner. If you wish to avoid frying, the vegetables can be baked first in the oven, having being brushed with a little olive oil first.