Bacon and Cabbage Frittata paint

A modern take on traditional moussaka. This vegetarian version is so hearty and packed with flavour that even the most zealous carnivore-lover probably won’t notice the absence of meat. Creamy, juicy and absolutely delicious this easy to follow pumpkin moussaka recipe will definitely impress your family or friends.

Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients

  • 2-3 small pumpkins (Hokkaido)

Moussaka sauce 

  • 120 grams beluga or puy lentils (300 grams cooked)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 grams aubergine, diced small (1/2 cm)
  • 5 grams garlic, crushed (1 clove)
  • 20 grams celery, finely diced (1 stick)
  • 80 grams onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½  teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 200 ml vegetarian stock (½ veg stock cube)
  • 10 grams parsley, finely chopped
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper

Cheesy Bechamel Sauce

  • 150 milk
  • 100 fresh cream
  • 40 grams butter, melted
  • 10 grams GF flour (tapioca or white rice) 
  • 150 milk (full fat)
  • 100 fresh cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 125 grams Ricotta cheese
  • 100 grams of these cheeses (or combination): conte, gruyere, parmesan + extra for topping
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Gluten Free

  • Vegetarian

  • Diabetic Friendly

  • Lower-Carb

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Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c. 
  2. To prepare pumpkin: Using a sharp knife, top and tail pumpkin to create a base either side, then slice in half on the circumference. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out seeds. Brush pumpkin all over with melted butter and place flesh-side down on oven proof pan. Par-cook in oven for 15 minutes, remove, then turn it over so flesh side faces up. Set aside till stage 7. 
  3. To make moussaka sauce: Rinse lentils well, transfer to saucepan, cover with plenty of water (but no salt) and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until al dente. Strain and rinse. 
  4. Season diced aubergines and massage with 2 tablespoons oil. Heat heavy based pan over med/high heat and add aubergines. Quickly stir-fry till lightly caramelized and golden brown. Transfer to side dish and wipe pan clean with kitchen paper. Place back on heat. 
  5. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan followed by garlic and cook gently for 30 seconds -1 minute (be careful not to burn). Add onion and celery and continue to cook until mixture is soft – about 10 minutes. Add cumin and cinnamon and gently fry for 1 minute stirring continually. Add tomato puree, cook 1 minute while stirring. Add red wine and simmer gently for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add back aubergines, lentils, stock and chopped parsley, season well and let everything simmer gently on low heat while you make the cheesy sauce topping.
  7. To make cheesy béchamel sauce: In a small saucepan bring the milk and cream to a low simmer. In a separate saucepan melt the butter and stir the GF flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk and cream. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheeses until melted. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then beat in egg yolk, salt to taste, freshly ground pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. 
  8. To assemble pumpkin moussaka: Using a small ladle fill centre of pumpkin with moussaka sauce, then top generously with cheesy béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with extra grated cheese and place back in oven for 15 minutes until cooked and golden brown on top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Maggie's Tips

  • Cannot source pumpkin use butternut squash.
  • Pumpkins are a typical Autumn food. Most pumpkin varieties are harvested by late September early October. However, since pumpkins can easily be stored for a long time, you might find locally produced pumpkins until early spring at your local farmers market. Pumpkins need to be handled carefully to prevent bruising. 
  • Are pumpkins a fruit or vegetable? Botanists classify a fruit as the part of the plant that develops from a flower and contains seeds; the other parts (stems and leaves) are considered vegetables. So, pumpkins are fruits, and are also members of the gourd family – which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons and cantaloupe. Gourds are native to Central America and Mexico. They’re also a member of the squash family, along with cucumbers, courgettes and watermelons. (This paragraph taken from Diarmuid Gavin Irish Independent interview “Pumpkin Patch” Oct 29/ 2017).