Saturday, 26 September 2009

Pete's "Courgette 'Saka"

During my August trip to Dusseldorf (for work), Pete was keen to find new ways to use some of the beautiful courgettes we've been growing in the garden. When he told me of about the moussaka-like dish he made one night (using courgettes instead of aubergine) I insisted he make it again as soon as I got home! We both enjoyed it so much he's made it a number of times since then.

The recipe has varied each time he's made it. Apart from the first time, when he used beef, he uses lamb mince - more in keeping with a traditional moussaka. The ratios of ragu, courgette and bechamel have changed too. The first time he made it, he fried the courgettes briefly before layering them into the dish but he no longer does this. And the last time he made it, he skipped the bechamel, and it was still delicious! Don't be scared to adapt this recipe!

You can, of course, substitute your preferred recipe and methods for the lamb ragu. Pete's very simple one, below, is easy and delicious but any thick, rich ragu recipe would work.

Recipe: Pete's "Courgette 'Saka"

500 grams lamb mince
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 Oxo cube
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A little flour for thickening (optional)
Olive oil for frying
-Courgette layer
Approximately 500 grams courgette
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
Approximately 200 ml milk
Small handful of grated cheese (optional)

  • Brown the mince in a little olive oil. (You won't need much as lamb mince releases it's own fat).

  • Add the garlic and Oxo cube and stir in well.
  • Stir in the flour (if using).
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Bring up to a simmer and leave to thicken for 20-30 minutes. (You can get away with 10 minutes if you're in a rush, as long as the mince was browned off properly).

  • Slice the courgette, lengthwise or crosswise, as preferred. (Seed first if particularly large).
  • Once the mince is ready, start the bechamel.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Mix in the flour with a whisk until it becomes a coherent paste.
  • Heat the milk (a quick blast in the microwave works well).

  • Add the milk to the flour butter paste gradually, whisking continuously. Don't worry if it seems to separate when the milk first goes in; if you keep whisking it comes together again.

  • In a oven dish, use half the mince to create the first layer. Cover with half the courgette slices, spread out over the mince and half the bechamel. Repeat.
  • Sprinkle grated cheese over top, if desired.
  • Pop dish into medium oven (160-180) for approximately half an hour. (Exact cooking time will depend on how thick your courgette slices were, as these need to cook through).


Gill the Painter said...

What a beautiful dish, I love the Indian yellow colour (well I would).

redjanet said...

This looks so delicious and easy. I definitely want to try it!

gastrogeek said...

absolute genius! I love the idea of using courgettes. I do love aubergines you think it would work if you used both aubergines AND courgettes?! (Or am I just being greedy as usual?)

Kavey said...

I'm sure it would work, Reji! I am amazed at how WELL it works. The meat juices really soften and flavour the courgette flesh and yet it still tastes of courgette. If I did both courgette and aubergine I think I'd put meat layers between them rather than having them next to each other. I think.

Lizzie said...

I love yellow courgettes, they look so alien to me. I often make a fake moussaka with one layer courgette and one layer aubergine. I could never do away with my beloved aubergine all together.

Kavey said...

Hi Lizzie
I adore aubergine too! But our only vaguely green-tinged fingers only produced one lonely and rather tiny aubergine whereas we've had kilos upon kilos upon kilos of courgettes! So this idea was about finding new ways to use some of them up.
Also, I've not really converted Pete to the joy of aubergine. Whilst he will eat them, he'd not choose them if given the choice!
I reckon a version with both courgette and aubergine would be fabulous!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I always need recipes for courgettes and this one sounds like a great one! Thanks for sharing it :D

Karen J said...

ooo I likee I didn't think of substituting courgettes for aubergine as James hates that...

Mamta said...

Loks great, it should be on mamtaskitchen too :-)!