Mousaka from Dorna, Bukovina

Here is a “goodie” that intrigued me with its minimum resemblance with the mousaka I used to know, despite having the same name. Cream, wine and plum brandy in mousaka? And fried potatoes instead of boiled ones? As such a dish must be tasted, I gave in the temptation, and did I get rewarded in the end! This dish is full of taste, right aromas, with a surprising sauce which ties the dish together. However, I must admit that this is a wintery dish, heavy but in a good way, with a taste that does remind me of my father’s Bukovina. A must try before we get tempted away by the freshness of spring vegetables!And as all dishes have a story in this book…”one one hand, the folkmen from Dorna believe that popatoes are cursed, and should not be used in Christian ceremonies, to taint them, but on the other hand, at home, not seen by priests or old women, they make a pact with the world’s best mousaka, so good that it’s impossible not to give in into temptation!” (R.A. Roman)

Mousaka:

  • 1,5 kg popatoes
  • 1 kg minced beef meat
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 glass of wine
  • 1 small glass of plum brandy 🙂
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 big cup of cream
  • 250 g edam or cheddar-type cheese
  • salt, pepper, dill, thyme

Sauce:

  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1 glass of tomato juice
  • 1 glass of wine
  • 1 spoon of honey
  • pepper, thyme

Chop the onion and finely dice the carrot; fry in oil until tender, then add the minced meat. When meat is cooked through, season with salt, pepper, dill and thyme and take off the heat. Add the wine and the plum brandy.

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Peel the potatoes, slice into round, thin slices. Fry on high hear in oil until golden, making sure they don’t stick to each other.

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Grate the cheese and mix with the eggs and the cream, season with salt and pepper.

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Grease a pan/tray with butter, and place a layer of potatoes, a layer of meat and then a layer of the cheese cream. Continue until mixtures finish (usually only 2 of these 3 layers), making sure to finish with a cheese and cream layer.

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Bake in the oven on low heat about an hour, until the top is golden and crisp.

For the sweet-sour sauce, put on a pan and add the tomato juice, the honey and the wine. Fold in the cream, wisking so that it does not separate. Season with pepper and thyme. The sauce is served along with the mousaka.

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