Moussaka

This classic Greek dish is ideal any time of the year. Moussaka is layers and layers of flavors with every level having its own unique essence.

 

Ingredients

2 aubergine, cut into 1cm slices

700g, Minced lamb

3 big potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1cm slices

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tsp dried oregano

1½ tsp dried mint

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp. plain flour

6 tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp. tomato puree

7 tbsp. olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

 

For the white sauce

50g butter

50g plain flour

400ml milk

1 tsp finely grated nutmeg

25g finely grated Parmesan

1 egg, beaten

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Place the aubergine pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the lamb, onions, garlic, oregano, mint, bay leaves and cinnamon in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
  4. Stir in the flour, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. Rinse the aubergine pieces under cold running water and pat dry in a clean tea towel.
  7. Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the aubergine for 2-3 minutes on each side, adding more oil when necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  8. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for five minutes, then drain in a colander under running water until cold.
  9. For the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually stir in the milk.
  10. Add half the Parmesan and the grated nutmeg. Simmer the sauce gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the beaten egg. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film to prevent forming of skin.
  12. Spoon one third of the meat sauce into a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of potatoes and a layer of aubergine. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with the aubergine. Pour over the white sauce, making sure it covers in a thick, even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until deep golden-brown and bubbling.
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