BULGARIAN MOUSSAKA

There are an awful lot of different moussakas that I suppose all originate in Greece. This one however is the most popular in Bulgaria and when you order moussaka in a Bulgarian restaurant this is exactly what you are going to get. All others are named after the veggies used — moussaka with zucchini, with eggplant or vegetarian moussaka (containing mainly rice).

Ingredients

3 lbs potatoes
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin (or more)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 mushroom stock cubes
1 cup plain yogurt
2-3 eggs (depending on size)

Directions

1 -In a frying pan put the oil, the beef, the tomato paste, cumin, black and white pepper, nutmeg and some salt and start frying forcing the meat with a fork to fall apart into crumbs.

2 -When all the meat is falling apart remove from the fire and drain the excess fat (although you could also add it to the baking tin).

3 -Peel the potatoes and chop them into small pieces (1/2" or a bit smaller).

4 -Put half of the potatoes in a deep baking tin, spread the meat mixture over them and top it with the rest of the potatoes; you could use a larger or a smaller diameter tin depending on how thick you want your moussaka to be.

5 -Add water until only half of the top layer of potatoes stays uncovered by it and break the stock cube over it (BE CAREFUL – if you opt not to use the cube you’ll have to add some salt).

6 -Preheat the oven to a medium temperature and put the moussaka in.

7 -In a bowl beat the yogurt with the eggs the thyme, a bit of salt and some black or white pepper if you want.

8 -When the water in the tin starts boiling and the potatoes start to cook, poor in the yogurt mixture taking care that it covers the potatoes entirely.

9 -Bake until the potatoes are done (about 45 min-1 h total baking time) but be careful not to burn the yogurt lid – you may want to lower the heat or to leave the oven heating from under the tin only.

10 -When ready take out of the oven and leave to cool a bit – potatoes cool very slowly.

11 -Serve very warm

Nikolay web