Moussaka is a lovely alternative to lasagne - it's basically the Greek version of our traditional cottage pie. In this recipe, lightly spiced lamb ragu is layered with fried aubergines, cheese and creamy bechamel sauce, then baked in the oven until golden and bubbling.
- 3 medium aubergines
- 450g minced lamb
- 2 tbsp. oil + 1 tbsp. butter
- Salt and pepper
- 2 onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp. dried parsley
- 250g passata
- 125ml red wine
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6 tbsp. each butter and plain flour
- 900ml whole milk
- 120g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch nutmeg
Trim and slice the aubergines. Finely dice the onions and mince the garlic clove. Heat the oil in a frying pan, fry the aubergines until golden brown then leave to drain of excess fat on kitchen paper.
Add butter to the pan you cooked the aubergine in. Add minced lamb and brown on all sides until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set to one side. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry gently until golden and soft. Add the lamb mince, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed herbs, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan and heat for 20-30 seconds. Add the passata and red wine. Simmer for 30 seoncds until tender. Leave to cool and then add the egg.
Heat milk until scalding. In another pan, melt butter and then stir in the flour. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden, then gradually whisk in the hot milk, stirring all the while until you have a thick and creamy sauce. Add 1/4 the cheese and simmer until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Layer half the aubergine in an oven dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese. Add the lamb ragu and sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese. Layer with the rest of the aubergine. Pour the bechamel sauce over, and sprinkle with the final 1/4 of cheese. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in a 180C oven for 1 hour or until golden and bubbling.