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Moussaka with Artichokes

Moussaka-with-Artichokes


Method
For the artichokes

Bring a pot full of water to a boil.
Add the juice from 1 lemon and the artichokes. Boil for 5-7 minutes.
Drain and quarter the artichokes.
Thinly slice the onion and garlic.
Place a large, nonstick pan over medium to high heat and add some olive oil.
Add the onion, garlic and artichokes. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until they caramelize nicely and turn golden.
Add salt, pepper, parsley and thyme.
Mix and transfer to a 30x25 cm ovenproof baking dish.
Spread it evenly and smooth the surface.
Cut the gruyere into 2 cm cubes and spread them on top.
For the ground meat

Place the same pan over high heat and add some olive oil.
Finely chop the onion and add it to the pan and sauté.
Thinly slice the garlic and add it to the pan also.
Sauté and add the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and tomato paste.
Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure the tomato paste is completely combined. It is best to sauté the tomato paste to make sure it loses its bitter taste.
Add the ground meat and mix thoroughly until it caramelizes nicely and turns golden.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes over low heat until the sauce has thickened. Stir often.
When it is almost ready, season with salt and pepper.
For the béchamel sauce

Place a large saucepan over low heat and add the butter.
As soon as it melts, add the butter and whisk.
Add the milk in small batches. It is very important to add the milk in small batches and to whisk continuously so that no lumps form. Wait until each batch is completely incorporated and absorbed before adding the next and make sure the mixture has no lumps. Repeat this process until all of the milk has been added and incorporated.
As soon as the béchamel sauce starts to bubble, it is ready. It should be creamy and completely smooth.
Remove from heat and add freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, some gruyere and the egg yolks.
Mix thoroughly.
To assemble

Preheat oven to 180* C (350* F) Fan.
Pour 200 g of the béchamel sauce to the ground meat mixture. This will help keep all of the ingredients in the sauce together. Season to taste.
Spread the meat mixture evenly over the artichokes in the baking dish.
Cover with the béchamel sauce, making sure it covers the whole surface completely and sprinkle with grated gruyere.
Bake for 35- 40 minutes, until golden.
When ready, remove from oven and allow it to cool for 1 hour.
Cut into pieces and serve.

Ingredients
For artichokes

juice from 1 lemon
1 kilo artichokes, frozen
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
pepper
1/3 bunch parsley, finely chopped
6-7 sprigs fresh thyme, only the leaves
150 g gruyere cheese, cut into 2 cm cubes
For ground meat mixture

1 onion
olive oil, for sautéing
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, levelled
1 tablespoon tomato paste
500 g ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes 400 g
salt
pepper
For béchamel sauce

100 g butter
100 g all-purpose flour
750 g milk 3.5% fat
freshly ground pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
100 g gruyere cheese, grated
3 egg yolks

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