Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Delicious moussaka recipe resurfaces

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TODAY'S column features two very different and delicious ethnic recipes as requested by readers.

Janice Washington had lost a recipe for moussaka that was published a long time ago in the Free Press Weekend magazine. She wrote that she has tried other recipes, but hasn't found another that compares. Thanks to Gerri McCullough, she can now make it again. The Weekend recipes were by Margo Oliver, and she compiled the most requested recipes into a cookbook that was first published in 1967. McCullough has the cookbook, and the recipe from it is reprinted today.

Sandra Linton was looking for a Thai chicken soup recipe. Thanks to Linda Snider of Glenboro for sending in the recipe reprinted below.

A couple of weeks ago, a recipe for Like Rugby Inn Spanish burgers was featured, reprinted as it had appeared in the Free Press years earlier. Gord Mohr e-mailed that he worked in the kitchen of the Rugby Inn in 1953, and helped prepare the recipe under the supervision of co-owner Jack Manners, the only person, as far as he knows, who knew all the ingredients. Gord says he thinks the recipe may be close, but that it definitely did not contain rice. I imagine whoever came up with the copycat recipe simply added it in as filler, and the small amount that is in the recipe can certainly be omitted.

Another request for the Mystery Slice that used to be sold at Safeway in the 1970s has come in from Marcie Synkiw. Marcie says she had clipped out a recipe for it printed in the Free Press years ago, but has since lost it.

Lastly, Margaret Smith asks if anyone knows where she can purchase ground chicory in Winnipeg.

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an e-mail to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Darlene Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Include your first and last name, address and telephone number. Please note that your recipe may not appear right away due to space limitations.

Moussaka

30 ml (2 tbsp) cooking oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

450 g (1 lb) ground beef

156 ml (5 1/2 oz) can tomato paste

175 ml (3/4 cup) water

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cloves

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) thyme

5 ml (1 tsp) oregano

125 ml (1/2 cup) dry red table wine

125 ml (1/2 cup) canned mushrooms (optional)

1 medium eggplant

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

30 ml (2 tbsp) flour

0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) pepper

250 ml (1 cup) milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Salt

Pepper

Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add onion and cook gently until yellow. Add meat and brown. Add tomato paste and water and simmer 5 minutes. Mix in seasonings, wine and mushrooms and simmer again gently until sauce is thick.

Slice eggplant (do not peel) 1/2-inch thick. Put in saucepan and pour boiling water over slices. Cover and heat just until water returns to the boil. Drain. Layer meat mixture and eggplant in a 2 litre (2 quart) casserole, ending with a layer of eggplant. Sprinkle each layer of eggplant lightly with salt.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour, 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt and 0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) pepper and let bubble up together. Remove from heat and add milk all at once. Stir to blend and return to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir at least half of the mixture gradually into egg, then stir back into remaining sauce. Cook 1 minute over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Pour over top of layers in casserole. Bake at 300 F for 40 to 45 minutes or until mixture bubbles up well and top browns lightly. Serves 6.

Note: In Greece this dish is highly seasoned and you may find you want to add more of the spices.

Taste Tester Notes: There are many versions of this dish and this is a very good one. I adjusted the meat mixture seasonings to my taste as follows: decreased salt to 5 ml (1 tsp), and used 1 ml (1/4 tsp) cinnamon, 0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) of nutmeg, and .05 ml (1/8 tsp) of cloves. I did not use the canned mushrooms. You will have about 625 ml (2 1/2 cups ) of mixture. Place half on the bottom of the dish, top with half the eggplant and repeat. (It's a good idea to have an extra eggplant on hand to ensure you have enough slices.) I used a 21 x 21 x 5 cm (8 x 8 x 2-inch) pyrex dish. Let rest for at least a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Thai curried chicken soup

10 ml (2 tsp) oil

454 g (1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

10 ml (2 tsp) oil

500 ml (2 cups) onion, chopped

10 ml (2 tsp) ginger root, finely chopped

10 ml (2 tsp) green curry paste

1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock

750 ml (3 cups) small fresh white mushrooms, quartered

500 ml (2 cups) carrots, thinly sliced

500 ml (2 cups) snow peas

500 ml (2 cups) cooked jasmine rice

398 ml (14 oz) can coconut milk

227 ml (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, drained and julienned (cut like thin matchsticks)

Cilantro for garnish

Cut chicken breasts into short, thin slices. Heat first amount of oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Transfer to a 5- to 7-litre (5- to 7-quart) slow cooker.

Add second amount of oil to the same frying pan, and cook onion for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often until browned. Add ginger and curry paste; heat and stir for 1 minute. Add to slow cooker. Stir in stock, mushrooms and carrots. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Trim the snow peas and halve crosswise. Stir in along with rice, coconut milk and bamboo shoots. Cover and cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes, until the snow peas are tender-crisp and the rice is heated through. Garnish with cilantro. Makes about 3.4 litres (13 1/2 cups).

Taste Tester Notes: This delicious soup is an absolutely fabulous blend of flavours. It is a mild curry, with just a very slight burn to make it interesting. If you haven't tried Thai food before, this is a good introduction. If you like it hotter, you can add more green curry paste. (Green curry paste contains ingredients such as green chilis, lemon grass, garlic, shallots, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and other items.) I found all of the ingredients for this soup at a large grocery store, either in the ethnic aisle or in the regular areas. You can buy the bamboo shoots already julienned. Be sure to use the fragrant jasmine rice and not regular rice. If you do not have a slow cooker, follow initial instructions and then simmer in a large soup pot instead for about 45 to 60 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except the garnish) and simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 6, 2008

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